Pro-Life group suing State, claims new law violates rights


Rochester, N.Y. (WROC)- Compasscare Pregnancy Services, a pro-life reproductive health care organization, is filing a lawsuit against Governor Cuomo and the state of New York over a bill that they say violates their first amendment rights.

The bill says employers cannot turn someone down just based on where they stand on reproductive health.

A representative for Compasscare says they’re concerned the bill would force them to hire people whose beliefs run counter to the religious beliefs of the organization, violating their first amendment rights.

“The government can’t tell religious organizations to hire someone that doesn’t agree with the mission,” said Denis Harle, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Compasscare in the lawsuit.

“This law requires pro-life religious organizations like Compasscare, First Bible Baptist church to employ people whose belief and behaviors violate those religious beliefs of the organizations,” said Harle.

The law amends the labor law to include a “prohibition of discrimination based on an employee’s or a dependent’s reproductive health decision making.”

We asked Governor Cuomo’s office for a response to the lawsuit. Spokesperson Jason Conwall sent this statement saying;

“Governor Cuomo enacted the law to ensure employers cannot discriminate or interfere in the personal medical and reproductive health care decisions of employees, and we will vigorously defend the law and the important protections it provides to all new yorkers. That said, this lawsuit is frivolous and quite frankly ridiculous, and we expect it to be dismissed by the court.”

Local attorney Mike Burger, with Santiago Burger LLP, says in the past the supreme court has asked the lower courts to look at each lawsuit individually. He added that when first amendment rights are implicated, the courts apply a much more careful review.

“Here you have a state legislature that has deliberated an passed the bill,” said Burger. “”Its a very heavy burden to show that your entitled to stop that type of a law going for because it presumedly reflects the will of the people.”

The representative for Compasscare Pregnancy Services told news8 that they plan to stop the law while the lawsuit precedes, by filing a preliminary injunction.

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