Pro-Life Coalition Letter Opposing the Equality Act

The Honorable Dick Durbin


Senate Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. Senate 

Washington, DC 20510 

The Honorable Chuck Grassley 

Ranking Member 

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. Senate 

Washington, DC 20510 

Dear Senators, 

We write to you as pro-life organizations united in opposition to the Equality Act (H.R.5/S.393). If passed, this legislation would be a severe bludgeon to efforts to protect the unborn by establishing abortion rights under the auspices of addressing pregnancy-related conditions. Despite the bill’s sponsors’ claims that this bill has nothing to do with abortion, the language in both the House and Senate versions of the bill lack critical abortion neutral language. Without such language, the bill will open a pandora’s box of abortion-related policy concerns, from taxpayer funding for abortions to abortion coverage mandates in health plans. Furthermore, under the expanded terms for public accommodation and diminished conscience protections for medical professionals, many doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care providers could be forced to participate in abortions under penalty of law. We call on Senators to oppose this radical bill. 

This legislation redefines “sex” as found in the Civil Rights Act. As enacted, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offered protections by banning discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations. For decades, the Civil Rights Act has been further protected by the addition of important guardrails1 dictating that such definitions may not be used to construe a right to abortion. However, by prohibiting “less favorable treatment” on the basis of “sex” including provisions related to “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions,” and erasing the longstanding pro-life protections, the so-called Equality Act creates a path to impose onerous abortion mandates. In Doe v. C.A.R.S., the 3rd Circuit ruled “that the term ‘related medical condition’ includes an abortion.2 Accompanied with the new provisions relating to no “less favorable treatment” to that of the other “medical conditions,” abortion would likely be labeled a protected procedure. The National Partnership for Women and Families has stated that the Equality Act would provide an avenue for women “to challenge denials of reproductive health,” which is of course a misleading euphemism for abortion.3 

The Equality Act’s expansive language requiring “any establishment that offers … health … care services or any federally-funded programs to follow the same definitions of “sex,” again including “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions” would place public and private health facilities under the provisions of this act thereby endangering state and local pro-life protections. 

Not only the facilities, but also each and every medical professional would be under the threat of discrimination charges for withholding services. The Equality Act explicitly blocks the use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) claims for conscientious objection. Without RFRA protection there would be little recourse for medical professionals being forced to choose between following their consciences and being subjected to lawsuits, fines, and other penalties. This would be in direct conflict with conscience rights provisions already in law such as the longstanding Weldon and Church amendments and could set up a significant legal dilemma that will be litigated for years to come. 

Without one explicit mention of abortion in its text, this legislation could be the biggest setback to the pro-life movement since Roe v. Wade. The Equality Act would present an open door for legal challenges to reasonable, widely supported restrictions on abortion and abortion funding across public and private entities.4 It would punish religious believers and treat them as second-class citizens who must violate their fundamental moral convictions to serve the goals of the pro-abortion movement. We call on the Senate to stand opposed to this manipulation of the Civil Rights Act that would strip away the rights of countless unborn children and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans. 


Marjorie Dannenfelser 


Susan B. Anthony List 

Lila Rose 

Founder & President 

Live Action 

Penny Young Nance 

CEO & President 

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee 

Ryan T. Anderson, PhD 


Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Russell Moore 


Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission 

Fr. Frank Pavone 

National Director 

Priests for Life 

Colleen Holcomb 


Eagle Forum 

Craig DeRoche 

President & CEO 

Family Policy Alliance 

Garrett Bess 

Vice President of Government Relations and Communications 

Heritage Action for America 

Rev. Dean Nelson 

Executive Director 

Human Coalition Action 

Alexandra Snyder 


Life Legal Defense Foundation 

Robin Pierucci, MD, MA. 

Pro-Life Committee Chair 

The American College of Pediatricians 

Janet Morana 

Co-Founder of The Silent No More Awareness Campaign 

Silent No More 

Larry Cirignano 

DC Representative 

Children First Foundation 

Cathie Humbarger 


Reprotection, Inc. 

Astrid Bennett Gutierrez 

Director and Founder 

The VIDA Initiative 

Marie Tasy 

Executive Director 

New Jersey Right to Life 

Gene Mills 


Louisiana Family Forum 

Joseph Brinck 


Sanctity of Life Foundation 

Nathan Winters 

Executive Director 

Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming 

Bob Vander Plaats 

President & CEO 

The FAMiLY Leader 

Aaron Baer 


Center for Christian Virtue 

Michael Gonidakis 


Ohio Right to Life 

Allan E. Parker, Jr. 


The Justice Foundation 

Julaine K. Appling 


Wisconsin Family Action 

Peggy Nienaber 

Vice President 

Faith & Liberty

Joel Brind 

President & CEO 

Natural Food Science, LLC 

Jo Ann Gerling 


Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer 

Samuel H. Lee 


Campaign Life Missouri 

Eva Andrade 

President & CEO 

Hawaii Family Forum 

Sheila L. Harper 

Founder & President 


Carol Tobias 


National Right to Life Committee 

Kristan Hawkins 


Students for Life of America/SFLAction 

Star Parker 


Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) 

Tom McClusky 


March for Life Action

Catherine Glenn Foster, M.A., J.D. 

President & CEO 

Americans United for Life 

Andrew M. Bath 

Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Thomas More Society 

Bradley Mattes 


Life Issues Institute 

Roland Warren

President & CEO 

Care Net 

Thomas A. Glessner 


National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) 

Day Gardner 


National Black Pro-Life Union 

Mary Vought 

Executive Director 

Senate Conservatives Fund 

Hon. Joel D. Grewe 

Executive Director 

Generation Joshua


Deborah Tilden 


S.M.A.R.T. Women's Healthcare - Division of LifeVictory Enterprises LLC


Sister Jane Abeln 


Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Conception 

Christopher Bell 


Good Counsel

Cole Muzio 


Family Policy Alliance of Georgia 

Esther Ripplinger, MBA 

Executive Director 

Human Life of Washington 

Cynthia Collins 



Andrew Shirvell, J.D. 

Founder & Executive Director

Florida Voice for the Unborn 

Joshua Edmonds 

Executive Director 

Georgia Life Alliance 

Amber S. Haskew 

Director of Public Policy 

Liberty Counsel Action 

C. Preston Noell III 


Tradition, Family, Property, Inc. 

John Helmberger 

Chief Executive Officer 

Minnesota Family Council 

David Nammo 

Executive Director & CEO 

Christian Legal Society 

Kimberlee Wood Colby 


Center for Law & Religious Freedom 

Joe Langfeld 

Executive Director 

Human Life Alliance

Dorothy Wallis 

President & CEO 

Caring to Love Ministries 

Lois Anderson 

Executive Director 

Oregon Right to Life 

Tami Fitzgerald 

Executive Director 

NC Values Coalition 

Connie Eller, BSSW Founder 

Missouri Blacks for Life 

Jim Minnery 


Alaska Family Action

1. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k) (“This subsection shall not require an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion”) 

2. Doe v. C.A.R.S. Protection Plus, Inc., No. 06-3625, (3d Cir. 2008) 

3. The Equality Act (H.R. 5/S. 788): Providing Critical Protection Against Discrimination for LGBTQ People and Women [Fact Sheet]. (April 2019). The National Partnership for Women & Families.


Share on Facebook and Twitter.