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Pro-Life Groups Vow To Defy DC Law

District of Columbia pro-life groups wrote an open letter Tuesday saying they will ignore the new “non-discrimination” law in hiring decisions.

The coalition said the companies will continue to hire employees who share their religious and moral beliefs, and said they will not abandon the purpose of their organizations to comply with what they call an “illegal and unjust” law.

“The District Council has utterly failed to demonstrate why our organizations must be punished for hiring employees who can effectively advance our organizational missions through both their words and deeds,” the coalition said in the letter signed by members of six different organizations.

The law, which went into effect over the weekend, was meant to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who choose to use birth control or get abortions, but the groups are concerned it will force businesses to violate their religious beliefs while hiring new employees.

“(The law) is aimed squarely at the freedom of our organizations to draw our workforces from among those who share our foundational commitment to the sanctity of human life,” the letter reads.

They claim the law targets their ability to provide employees with health insurance that complies with their pro-life beliefs by forcing them to provide coverage for all reproductive health decisions, though the council has already taken steps to clear this up.

The same day the group released the letter, City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced he plans to add language in a budget rider bill that would specifically address the issue and clarify that religious groups would not be forced to provide abortion coverage to employees.

Mendelson said he would add the language as a rider so it could take effect more quickly than if the council had to enact a whole new law, because it would need to go through rounds of readings and legislative sessions, which the council does on a monthly basis.

In January, the D.C. Council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, which they said was necessary to make sure businesses didn’t fire employees because a woman got an abortion or demote a man because his wife is on birth control.

Though, critics argued the bill would disrespect the constitutional rights of D.C. residents by forcing business owners to provide insurance coverage for things that violate their religious beliefs.

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