The Corner

Law & the Courts

The Equality Act Could Mandate Abortion Funding

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif.) speaks about the introduction of the Equality Act at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Aside from its other harmful elements, the Equality Act that passed the House today amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act and contains redefinitions of key terms that will likely be used to expand abortion rights. As some of the bill’s own advocates admit, the Equality Act could be read to mandate taxpayer funding for abortions and to nullify conscience protections for medical providers who object to performing abortion procedures.

The Equality Act defines “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition,” and, as Representative Chris Smith (R., N.J.) explained on the House floor today, the term “related medical condition” in fact means “abortion.” From Smith’s remarks:

In the case Doe v. C.A.R.S., the Third Circuit stated, “We now hold that the term ‘related medical conditions’ includes an abortion.” Furthermore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces Title VII, interprets abortion to be covered as a “related medical condition.”

The bill also stipulates that those with “a related medical condition shall not receive less favorable treatment than other physical conditions,” a provision that would disallow physicians from refusing to perform an abortion.

The National Partnership for Women & Families, which promotes expansive abortion access, explains that under the Equality Act, women “would also be able to challenge denials of reproductive health care,” and the bill specifically neglects to offer conscience protections for those with objections.

The Equality Act’s provisions related to health-care funding, meanwhile, could be interpreted to undercut existing prohibitions on direct federal funding for abortion. Because the federal government funds health care — and because of the expansive way that the bill defines “establishment” as not limited to physical health-care facilities — it qualifies as a health-care provider, and therefore would itself be subject to the terms of the Equality Act. As a result, the government likely would be required to cover abortions procedures.

Because states receive federal funding to underwrite their own health-care programs, the Equality Act could also require those state governments to cover abortion procedures with their own funds, a change from longstanding practice that has protected state governments from having to do so.

Most Popular

White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
White House

On the Bidens, Schiff Opened the Door

You opened the door. Trial lawyers live in fear of that phrase. When a trial starts, both sides know what the allegations are. Both have had enough discovery to know what the adversary will try to prove. Just as significantly, both know what their own vulnerabilities are. A litigator spends his pretrial ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

Senate Republicans, by and large, have reached an unspoken consensus about President Trump and Ukraine. He should not have put a temporary freeze on congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, should not have dabbled with using the aid to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden or a nutty theory about Ukrainian ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

Senate Republicans, by and large, have reached an unspoken consensus about President Trump and Ukraine. He should not have put a temporary freeze on congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, should not have dabbled with using the aid to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden or a nutty theory about Ukrainian ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More