The battle over abortion is merging into the battle for religious freedom on another front: In the nation’s capital, religious freedom is being attacked in the name of “reproductive health decisions.”
The City Council has enacted a Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, under which, for example, a Catholic school or a pro-life organization in D.C. would have to cover elective abortions in its healthcare plan and could not fire an employee who had an abortion and bragged about it to students.
They’re not satisfied that abortion is legal—their idea of freedom is to force religious institutions not only to pay for the procedure but to promote it as well.
The City Council has also enacted a “Human Rights Amendment” which compels religious schools to support the LGBT agenda with recognition and funding (think Georgetown University).
Both measures put the government in the position of telling religious institutions what they may or may not believe—thus forbidding them from practicing their faith.
Think about the implications of Catholic schools not being allowed to fire teachers who blatantly boast of living in violation of Church teaching on the sacredness of human life and the family.
Because D.C. is not a state, Congress has 30 days to override the actions of its City Council by passing a Resolution of Disapproval in both chambers. For the Resolution to take effect, the President would have to sign it—which may explain why this has happened only three times in the last 40 years.
On March 18, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jim Lankford (R-OK) introduced a Resolution of Disapproval in the Senate.
There is a huge ecumenical coalition behind this effort: the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, Catholic University of America, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals are some of those involved.
“While we will continue to serve the city and the nation,” the group stated in an open letter, “we cannot surrender the constitutional freedoms that the framers of the U.S. Constitution rightly reserved to all of us.”
So what will happen next?
The Senate has to pass the Resolution. The House has to pass the Resolution. Then the President has to sign it. Within 30 days.
Can religious freedom be saved in the District of Columbia?
Who’s keeping book?
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Connie Marshner organized her first pro-life meeting in 1971, among Capitol Hill staffers who sensed a drift toward legalizing abortion. She’s worked in the movement in one capacity or another ever since.