On June 5, Judge Thomas McAvoy of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York ruled all employers—including churches, religious schools, faith-based pregnancy care centers and religious nonprofits—must hire and employ people who may refuse to affirm or abide by an employer’s statement of faith. McAvoy did, however, agree that pro-life employers are not required to affirm employees’ “reproductive rights” in their employee handbooks.
In November, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit over N.Y. Labor Law Section 203-E against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on behalf of Rochester pregnancy care center CompassCare, First Bible Baptist Church and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an association of pro-life pregnancy centers.
“This law is a trifecta of constitutional violations, hindering freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of association,” CompassCare said in a November statement. “To be clear, obeying this law would force CompassCare to violate its mission and beliefs. CompassCare cannot in good conscience obey this law. We sue not because we want to but because it is needed to ensure pro-life Christians can continue expressing their convictions publicly and peaceably.”
“No one would force PETA to hire employees that hunt on the weekend,” argued ADF Legal Counsel Denise Harle. “CompassCare deserves that same courtesy and equal freedom under law.”
The Thomas More Society filed a similar complaint against New York state and New York City in January on behalf of Chris Slattery, a pro-life advocate and the founder and president of The Evergreen Association.
“To say that a pro-life organization has to hire people who oppose the pro-life mission, who have had [unregretted] abortions, or defend the right to have one is ridiculous,” Christopher Ferrara, Thomas More Society special counsel, told Celebrate Life magazine. “It’s a blatant violation of expressive association.”
This is just one of the pro-abortion bills Cuomo has signed into law. Last year, he infamously signed the so-called Reproductive Health Act, codifying a “right” to third-trimester abortions, erasing the state’s recognition of pre-born babies as potential homicide victims, removing abortion from the penal code entirely and allowing non-doctors to commit abortions.