National Partnership for Women & Families

Badly Needed Do No Harm Act Would 'Help Put an End to Religion Being Used as a License to Discriminate’

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — July 13, 2017 —

“We commend Representatives Joe Kennedy (Mass.) and Bobby Scott (Va.), two champions for women’s health, for introducing the essential Do No Harm Act of 2017 today at a time when protections from discrimination for all people are so desperately needed.

The Do No Harm Act would make clear that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s (RFRA) protections of the exercise of religion cannot be used to deny women access to reproductive health care or other services, or to undermine civil rights protections. Now, more than ever, our rights are being challenged by those who claim to be protecting religious freedom but are, in fact, trying to justify discrimination. If enacted, the bill will help put an end to religion being used as a license to discriminate.

The misuse of religion to justify discrimination in workplaces, in schools, in health care settings and in our communities is unacceptable. When women’s access to reproductive health care is denied because of someone else’s religious beliefs, our health is threatened, our economic security is compromised, and our equality is undermined.

That’s what’s at stake and why it is so important that Representatives Kennedy and Scott are fighting for this legislation. We all have the right to our religious beliefs. And we all have the right to be treated fairly in the workplace; to be able to access the health care we need without shame, stigma, or unnecessary barriers; to be treated fairly and live our lives with dignity.

The Do No Harm Act is badly needed legislation that Congress should pass immediately to help ensure that RFRA cannot continue to be misused to harm others and roll back our hard-fought gains.”

Contact

Lauren Sogor (202) 986-2600 lsogor@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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