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Des Moines, IA — Republicans in the Iowa Senate today advanced a bill that would protect discriminatory actions and deny individual rights based on a person’s religious beliefs.

SF 2095 is part of a coordinated effort to take away the rights of some people, including women and LGBTQ people. It threatens access to social services, health care, and employment for all Iowans. A “Do No Harm” amendment was introduced to prevent this act from being used to discriminate against those protected by the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and others. It was voted down along party lines.

“This bill is not protecting freedom of religion in our state—that right is already protected. It could allow people—and even for-profit corporations—to use religion as an excuse to discriminate and violate other important laws that protect Iowans from harm,” said Mazie Stilwell, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa. “It puts another target on already vulnerable communities, who have been repeatedly attacked by the politicians who currently control our state government. This is yet another harmful measure that sets our state back decades and will harm current and future generations. It doesn’t reflect the will of Iowans or our values.”

 The legislation mirrors other bills that have been previously debated that would create a state version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. The federal act has already been used to deny employees of Hobby Lobby insurance coverage for birth control, allow a funeral home to violate the federal civil rights law and fire an employee for violating its dress code, and allow a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to refuse to cooperate in an investigation of child labor law violations. 



Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa (PPAI) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of fostering and preserving a social and political climate favorable to reproductive health. To meet this mission, PPAI engages in lobbying, issues education, and supporter mobilization.   


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