Catholics repeat calls to overturn DC reproductive health laws

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington are calling for two recently-passed laws in Washington DC to be overturned because they allegedly violate freedom of religion.

The laws in question are the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act and Human Rights Amendment Act.

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act will require establishments including religious organisations to accept for employment individuals whose values conflict with their beliefs, including supporters of abortion and homosexuals.

The Human Rights Amendment Act will remove the exemption from supporting and funding homosexual advocacy groups that schools and religious organisations previously enjoyed.

"Both laws violate the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association protected by the First Amendment and other federal law," the joint statement by the archdiocese and the university stated.

The statement warned that the laws could also violate people's "right of expressive association for both religious and non-religious pro-life nonprofit organisations."

The CUA and the archdiocese were part of a broader coalition that released a joint statement last week requesting that Congress overturn the two laws.

The coalition is composed of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archdiocese of Washington, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, the Catholic University of America, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

"While we will continue to serve the city and the nation," the group's letter stated. "[W]e cannot surrender the constitutional freedoms that the framers of the U.S. Constitution rightly reserved to all of us."

The two laws are still open for review and evaluation in Congress. If there are objections, both the US Senate and House of Representatives must sign a joint resolution in order to disapprove the two laws.