A few weeks ago, jaws dropped in shock when the New York City Human Rights Commission made it a punishable offense under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to speak the words “illegal” or “illegal alien” — punishable by a whopping $250,000 fine
The guidance states: “The use of the terms ‘illegal alien’ and ‘illegals,’ with the intent to demean, humiliate, or offend a person or persons in the workplace, amounts to unlawful discrimination under the NYCHRL.”
“Even an employer’s single comment made in circumstances where that comment would signal discriminatory views about one’s immigration status or national origin” may be enough to constitute harassment and be found a violation.
Keep in mind that the terms “illegal” and “illegal alien” are legal terms used in our federal law. But this is not about common sense or making New York City a safer place to live and work. This is an attempt to intimidate the public into thinking that support for immigration reform and strong borders is criminal.
This clear case of denial of First Amendment rights should easily be overturned; however, its existence is part of an escalated effort in New York to pass state and local laws to weaken the constitutionally protected freedoms of those who hold viewpoints deemed politically incorrect.
New York City already has restrictive and constitutionally-questionable laws to avoid “discrimination”: use of pronouns, for example — where it is “discriminatory” to use the biological terms “he” or “she” if the individual being described does not identify with that gender.
It is also now “forbidden” for employers to discriminate on the basis of “sexual or reproductive choices,” which is defined super-broadly as: “fertility-related medical procedures, sexually transmitted disease prevention, testing, and treatment, and family planning services and counseling, such as birth control drugs and supplies, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, pregnancy testing, and abortion.” (Funny how “pregnancy” itself doesn’t make it in this list.)
Time will tell how all this will play out in the courts, but it’s clear that New York government officials are showing little if any restraint in their quest to outlaw traditional Judeo-Christian and pro-American values.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been particularly vocal and publicly open about his hostility toward conservatives and those of us who believe in protecting unborn babies. Which is why New Yorkers should be very concerned about his recent signature to codify the Johnson Amendment into New York State law, as this might be intended to muzzle non-profit organizations from speaking out on moral issues, such as marriage and abortion.
And let’s not forget, we still do not know the full (and deadly) implications of Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA), particularly in terms of how this law is going to impact the conscience rights of prolife doctors and nurses. Will New York be like Vermont, where, it recently surfaced in the news, a pro-life nurse employed at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) was allegedly deceived and compelled to perform an elective abortion against her will, out of fear that she would lose her job. It appears UVMMC “intentionally” targeted this nurse because of her prolife views, given how she was a signatory on an internal letter that was supposed to protect her right to opt out of performing abortions, and UVMMC could have assigned other nurses who had not voiced the same moral objections to abortion.
It is horrific that someone trained to save human life could be forced to take human life. Yet, this fight to protect the prolife moral conscience beliefs of medical professionals has been an ongoing across our nation for years. Which is why the Trump Administration Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule announcing that it was enforcing existing provisions already in federal law to protect moral conscience beliefs of those who work in medicine.
What should be troublesome to New Yorkers is that when HHS made this announcement, New York Attorney General Leticia James was one of the first to take legal action in opposition. She, like Cuomo, has been proudly forthcoming about her support for abortion and her personal animosity toward those who hold prolife views.
Because New York has always been the go-to state for the secular left to set the stage for laws they seek to implement across the nation, other states should take notice of the radical state and local laws being passed. Right now, there is a buffer of protection for conservative Americans under the Trump administration — still, this is all too close for comfort. What is happening in New York is unconstitutional and all of America should care.
Maria McFadden Maffucci is the editor of the Human Life Review, www.humanlifereview.com, a quarterly journal devoted to the defense of human life, founded in 1974 by her father, James P. McFadden, Associate Publisher of National Review. She is President of the Human Life Foundation, based in midtown Manhattan, which publishes the Review and supports pregnancy resource centers. Mrs. Maffucci’s articles and editorials have appeared in the Human Life Review, First Things, National Review Online, National Review, Verily, and Crux. A Holy Cross graduate with a BA in Philosophy, she is married to Robert E. Maffucci, and the mother of three children. Her interests include exploring opportunities for individuals with special needs. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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