Congressional Democrats are coming after a decades-old law that protects people’s religious practices from the government with a new bill proposed by members of the House and Senate.
The bill, called the “Do No Harm Act,” was originally introduced in 2017 in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, which exempted religious employers from the Obamacare contraception mandate. It was reintroduced at the end of February by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Reps. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., and Bobby Scott, D-Ill., and it puts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (and the religious practitioners protected by it) directly in its crosshairs.
What does this bill propose to do? According to the press release from Kennedy’s office, the bill “would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights” by “limit[ing] the use of RFRA in cases involving discrimination, child labor and abuse, wages and collective bargaining, access to health care, public accommodations, and social services provided through government contract.”
How does it plan to do this? According to the bill’s text, it would change the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by saying that the 1993 law no longer applies to “protections against discrimination or the promotion of equal opportunity.” This includes “access to, information about, referrals for, provision of, or coverage for, any health care item or service.”