D.C. won’t force pro-life groups to fund abortion – but still makes them hire abortion supporters
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- The D.C. City Council will eliminate a requirement that city-based pro-life organizations have to provide abortion and contraception insurance coverage for employees.
The Washington Times reports that the Chairman of the Council, Phil Mendelson, said at a press conference that the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) would be updated so religious and moral objections to the law's insurance requirements would be respected. The update will take place when the Council votes on the city's budget on May 27.
Mendelson's statement did not say whether the Council would address objections that pro-life groups have about the requirement that the groups must be willing to hire pro-abortion employees. The insurance and hiring components led to a backlash among both pro-life groups and Capitol Hill.
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Mendelson's updated language would permanently address the insurance concern. Temporary language that expires in June currently says that the law “shall not be construed to require an employer to provide insurance coverage related to a reproductive health decision.”
Under the U.S. Constitution and federal law, Congress and the President have 30 legislative days to disapprove of a D.C. bill. Pro-life activism spurred the House of Representatives to disapprove of RHNDA, which passed the D.C. Council in December, last week. However, with the Senate out of town on recess and President Obama threatening a veto, RHNDA became law on Saturday.
Mendelson said he is updating RHNDA rather than passing new legislation to save the time it would take to push a new bill through the appropriate committees.