Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act by a vote of 224-206, with three Republicans joining all House Democrats in voting for the measure. The Daily Caller notes that it is not known how the votes in the Senate will go, writing, “the bill’s fate in the Senate is less certain since it would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster and it is not certain how some of the more moderate Democrats and Republicans will vote on the bill.”
Breaking: The House has voted to pass the Equality Act, a far-reaching measure that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The vote was 224 to 206. 3 Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the Act.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 25, 2021
As Live Action News reported earlier this week, the Equality Act is not just about “prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”; it is discriminatory toward those who object on a religious or moral basis to participating in certain procedures, including abortion. The Act changes the definition of “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” and overrides religious freedom protections, forcing employers to pay for abortions through health insurance programs regardless of religious objections. The Act also forces state taxpayers to fund abortions through their Medicaid programs.
Disturbingly, as Live Action News previously noted, “Medical staff who do not participate in elective abortions and health insurance plans that do not cover abortion will be forced to do so if they receive any reimbursement under Medicaid or Medicare.” Refusal to take part in an abortion can be interpreted as “pregnancy discrimination” under the Equality Act, with the child in the womb “viewed as the equivalent of an ‘illness’ that needs curing.”
As noted by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (emphasis added):
The Equality Act’s new freestanding ban on pregnancy discrimination, which will govern Title VII and four other titles of the Civil Rights Act, pointedly excludes Title VII’s disclaimer… [and] adds the new requirement for women to receive “treatment” for pregnancy that is as “favorable” as treatment for any other “physical condition” — and of course, treatments are routinely provided for other physical conditions on an elective basis and for many reasons that have nothing to do with life endangerment…
It provides rules of construction indicating that the new requirement should be interpreted as broadly as possible… And it negates the existing religious freedom law that allows believers to seek an exemption from such requirements based on sincere religious beliefs such as respect for human life…
The Lozier Institute goes on to note that the Equality Act’s abortion agenda “will require a radical shift in longstanding government policy. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld bans on government funding of abortion. In doing so, the court concluded that the ‘right’ to be free from direct government interference in choosing an abortion does not include a right to demand support and assistance from others in implementing that choice.”
The Supreme Court has also acknowledged that “Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life,” as quoted in Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 325 (1980). Lozier adds, “The court’s later decisions have referred more straightforwardly to a legitimate governmental interest in respecting “the life of the unborn.”
Live Action president Lila Rose stated that this Act would make it so that “no doctor that serves Medicaid patients will be allowed to disagree, no hospital that accepts Medicare will be allowed to refuse, and no citizen will be able to stop her hard-earned money from paying for the deaths of the youngest and most vulnerable people in our society,” calling the bill “a club to punish dissent.”
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