On November 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fervent supporter of abortion, signed Senate Bill 660, a bill which unconstitutionally insists that pro-life organizations are not allowed to discriminate against pro-abortion applicants in their hiring. Additionally, the bill would make it impossible for the pro-life organization to fire an employee who chooses to have an abortion.
The bill states:
An employer shall not: (a) discriminate nor take any retaliatory personnel action against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of or on the basis of the employee’s or dependent’s reproductive health decision making, including, but not limited to, a decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service; or (b) require an employee to sign a waiver or other document which purports to deny an employee the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions, including use of a particular drug, device, or medical service.
Late last week, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is famous for defending the constitutional rights of religious Americans, filed a lawsuit in federal court. They represented CompassCare, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, which is comprised of pro-life pregnancy centers, and First Bible Baptist Church against Cuomo, Roberta Reardon, who is the Commissioner of the Labor Department of New York, and New York Attorney General Letitia James.
ADF writes, “SB 660, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, requires all employers—including churches, religious schools, faith-based pregnancy care centers, and religious nonprofits—to disavow their beliefs about abortion, contraception, and sexual morality by forcing them to hire and employ those who refuse to abide by the organizations’ statements of faith.”
ADF Legal Counsel Denise Harle stated:
CompassCare offers comprehensive information and free medical care, practical resources, and hope to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Every woman deserves the support she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in her pregnancy. But New York’s new law forces CompassCare to contradict its own beliefs and to employ staff who endorse abortion—a decision that harms women and ends innocent lives. No one would force PETA to hire employees that hunt on the weekends. CompassCare deserves that same courtesy and equal freedom under law.
ADF Senior Counsel Ken Connelly added, “No government has the right to tell pro-life or religious organizations they must hire someone who doesn’t agree with their core mission. New York is directly demeaning religious pro-life pregnancy centers and other faith-based organizations—like religious schools, Catholic hospitals, and even churches—by ordering them to violate their beliefs in key personnel and leadership decisions. The state is requiring our clients to contradict their convictions and undercut their freedom of association—requirements that are flatly unconstitutional.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom has won a number of historic cases, including Town of Greece v. Galloway, in which the Supreme Court ruled that opening legislative sessions with prayer was constitutional; McCullen v. Oakley, in which “buffer zones” designed to restrict pro-life activists were ruled unconstitutional; Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Supreme Court struck down the contraceptive mandate of Obamacare as applied to those with religious objections, and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the Supreme Court ruled that a religious Christian baker could not be forced to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, albeit only if the commissioners in charge of making such a decision were nasty to the Christian baker.