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Pregnancy Center Accuses New York of Religious Discrimination

Pregnancy Center Accuses New York of Religious Discrimination

“Forcing them to hire someone who promotes abortion would completely undermine their mission.”

Crisis pregnancy center EMC Frontline filed a lawsuit against New York over the “Boss Bill,” which forces nonprofits and religious institutions to hire people that do not share their views.

The center claims the law violates its 1st and 14th Amendment rights.

EMC founder Chris Slattery told The Washington Free Beacon that the Boss Bill is “a fundamental effort to crush the pro-life movement.”

The center provides help for pregnant women and newborns:

“When you have a pro-life group that’s dedicated to work[ing] against abortion, for them to hire an opponent is patently absurd,” Slattery told the Washington Free Beacon. “For Catholic schools to have to hire pro-choice school teachers, priests, bishops, deacons—it’s patently absurd.”

The law prohibits employers from deciding not to hire an employee based on the employee’s or an employee’s dependent’s “reproductive health decisions.” It also prevents employers from accessing “an employee’s personal information regarding the employee’s or the dependent’s reproductive health decision making,” including “the decision to use or access a particular drug, device, or medical service.” New York City passed a similar law shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the statewide “Boss Bill” in November.

The Thomas Moore Society is representing EMC Frontline:

Timothy Belz, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, said the new law threatens to violate EMC’s rights “in multiple ways.”

“Expectant Mother Care and EMC Frontline exist for the purpose of advocating for and providing desperate women with alternatives to abortion. Forcing them to hire someone who promotes abortion would completely undermine their mission,” he said in a statement. “These state and city laws also violate our client’s right to free speech and right to due process.”

The Supreme Court struck down a similar law in California in 2018, 5-4. That law made “crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion and contraceptive services to their clients.”


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Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, 561 U.S. 661 (2010), is a negative precedent facing us in our seeking to protect the right of free association.

“In CLS v. Martinez, the Supreme Court ruled that Hastings did not violate CLS’ First Amendment rights by denying it official recognition under an “all comers” policy. In a sharply divided 5-4 vote, the Court held that a public university could require its student organizations to accept any student as a voting member or leader, regardless of whether the student openly disagrees with or is even hostile to the group’s fundamental beliefs. The Court found that Hastings’ “all comers” policy was viewpoint-neutral and reasonable in light of the purposes served by the student organization forum. As such, the Court held that the school’s decision to deny recognition to CLS, due to its “Statement of Faith” requirement for voting members and officers, did not violate the student group’s freedom of association under the First Amendment.”

    BobM in reply to pfg. | February 10, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Not a lawyer, but isn’t there opposing precedent?
    If I’m remembering my civil rights history correctly, didn’t white supremest Jim Crow segregationists sue the NAACP and other groups in the 60s to force them to accept KKK members as NAACP (etc) members, in a bid to (a) access membership lists (so they’d know who to lynch) and (b) kill the groups by overwhelming the membership that supported equal rights with new “members” who opposed them?
    If I recall , the courts supported the rights of those groups to be selective in accepting new members.

      Milhouse in reply to BobM. | February 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      The NAACP and the KKK are private organizations, and can choose their members however they like. They can even discriminate by race, if they like.

      The Christian Legal Society was also a private organization, and could have whatever rules it liked, but the university, although a government entity, didn’t have to recognize it and give it the privileges of recognized student organizations.

      EMC Frontline and Planned Parenthood are employers, and are therefore subject to the laws against discrimination in employment. For instance it should be obvious that neither is entitled to refuse to hire someone because of their race. In NY neither is entitled to refuse to hire someone because of their decision whether to have an abortion. So EMC Frontline must hire an otherwise-qualified applicant who’s had an abortion, and Planned Parenthood must hire an otherwise-qualified applicant who has refused an abortion. As far as I can tell, despite this article’s claim, neither is required to hire someone who openly disagrees with its mission.

So are repealing the 1st amendment “right of association” part? This is why religious groups should reject government funding. Money played no part in the spread of Christianity. It’s not a business.

    What good would rejecting government funding do? It wouldn’t exempt them from the law. And we already know that freedom of association gives way to anti-discrimination laws in employment. The only challenge I can see with a chance would be on free speech / free exercise grounds, since these are “message” enterprises.

      This addresses a point you frequently miss. Without government funding, the government has zero constitutional leverage in persecuting religious organizations. It wouldn’t necessarily exempt them from an unconstitutional law but they would then have constitutional clarity. That is why we have lawyers.

      You seem to have a blind spot. Lawyers are advocates, not referees. We hire lawyers to fight against unconstitutional laws.

        No, you are completely wrong. Government funding does not affect this in any way. The government will try to enforce the law the same way regardless, and the defendants will challenge it the same way regardless. Turning down funding does not make it any clearer. It just makes it needlessly harder for the institution to fulfill its mission.

          That is why we hire lawyers. Get it?

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | February 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm

          I get it, you don’t. First, FUNDING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. The situation is exactly the same whether you receive millions of dollars or not a penny.

          Second, lawyers are not allowed to file motions they know to be frivolous. They can get sanctioned for that.

          Third, the obligation to obey the law does not depend on lawyers. The law is whatever it is, and hiring a lawyer doesn’t get one an exemption from it.

    I think money had a lot to do with the spread of Christianity, thinking that the Vatican is paved in gold for a reason

      Christianity spread fastest during the persecution era, martyrs were the biggest reason why it spread far and wide during the decline of the Roman Empire. The fastest spreaders of the faith were Roman soldiers which allowed the Word to percolate up society.

      Constantine (a pagan up until his next-to-last breath) effectively created the Vatican power structure by surrendering to the inevitable. That is when catholicism started, purging the faith of heretics and the beginning of a inquisition period lasting several centuries. Despite being credited for ending the Roman persecution, No one killed more Christians that Constantine.

      So no, money didn’t spread Christianity. Lust for global empire, greed and corruption is how the Vatican accumulated it’s wealth.

So someone avidly pro-life applies to work at planned parenthood? This same pro-lifer as they go about their job makes it known they are pro-life and the reasoning they are pro-life. Will the state of New York punish planned parenthood for firing or never hiring this person?

    Milhouse in reply to Dr S. | February 10, 2020 at 10:44 am

    The EMC press release is misleadingly worded. The law at issue has nothing to do with the applicant’s beliefs. EMC is not being required to hire people who disagree with its position, it’s being required to hire people who’ve had abortions. Likewise, Planned Parenthood would indeed be required to hire someone even if they’ve refused an abortion. But that’s unlikely to come up, since PP has never had a rule that all employees must have personally had abortions.

Democrats respect SCOTUS, constitution, presidency, state and federal law, only when it fits their agenda. Worst of the worst…

Antifundamentalist | February 10, 2020 at 11:26 am

So…the law basically says that a nonprofit organization cannot ask you about certain aspects of your medical history, as in “have you, or anyone in your family ever had an abortion?” That does not seem unreasonable. Nobody should be asking anyone that question. Anywhere. Ever. It isn’t appropriate. On the other hand, saying something like “we are a Catholic organization, and our practices and policies adhere to the tenants of the Catholic church, do you understand? Will you be comfortable working in such an environment and adhering to our policies?” A negative answer to those questions is a perfectly reasonable reason to NOT hire someone. After all, they said themselves that they would not be a good fit for the job.

My hope for the future is for someone to invent a time machine so that we can take all these people who believe in abortion, put them in the time machine, and send them back to their mother’s womb to be aborted.

What is it with New York that causes them to seek out the very dregs of society to represent them?

There are millions of decent, talented and capable residents to choose among yet they end up with some Kennedy breeding, Mafioso looking un-American thug who disgraces all the comes in contact with.

Satan has to have a hand in this turpitude.

    It’s the liberalism inherent in them: in other words, it makes them feel superior to other people. The dark comedy in all this is that some of the most ignorant people in NYC are the most liberal, even the older people.

    NYC is an old city, and like most bigger cities, it is filled with narcissists, rich and poor. So they vote themselves in to hell, over and over and over again, expecting the federal government to rescue them over and over and over again.

A Progressive Jew. A Progressive Christian… Thou shalt abort for light and casual causes. Thou shalt be a diversitist and pass color judgments. Thou shalt be politically congruent. An oxymoron.

What a worn-out POS this guy is.