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The Equality Act: Creating a Right to Demand Abortion and Destroying Conscience Protections

Feb 25, 2021 | 2021 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON — Voting 224-206, largely along party lines, the House of Representatives today approved H.R. 5, the Equality Act. National Right to Life issued a letter sent to members on February 19th, urging representatives to vote against the H.R. 5.

The Equality Act contains language that could be construed to create a right to demand abortion from health care providers, and likely would place at risk the authority of the government to prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions.

“The very name of this legislation, ‘Equality Act,’ is an oxymoron,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “There is nothing equal about treating as second-class citizens health care practitioners who oppose abortion.”

Tobias continued, “Under the Equality Act, the unborn child will be the loser.”

The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by defining “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” It is well established that abortion is considered a “related medical condition.” H.R. 5 expands the anti-discrimination provisions in the bill by stating that “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions,” and would add “establishments that provide health care” to the list of covered “public accommodations.” [emphasis added]

The pro-abortion National Partnership for Women and Families states, “Women would also be able to challenge denials of reproductive health care.”

“If enacted, H.R. 5 would open the door for widespread litigation wherein any attempt to restrict abortion, including the funding of abortion, would constitute discrimination,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of federal legislation for the National Right to Life Committee.

Provisions in H.R. 5 would apply to individual health care providers who object to abortion, including those with religious objections. The bill explicitly overrides the protections that are contained in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Forcing health care providers to perform abortions in violation of their conscience rights clearly violates the Constitution,” said NRLC President Carol Tobias. “But pro-abortion forces and their allies in Congress are more concerned about expanding access to abortion.”

Historically, when Congress has addressed discrimination based on sex, rules of construction have been added to prevent requiring funding of abortion or nullifying conscience laws. Democrats have failed to include this important language.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.