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Congress, Don’t Mess with the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act!

The House of Representatives – never one to miss an opportunity to attack women’s rights and health –voted to stop a D.C. law that protects women from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions.

Last week the House was considering a bill that allows the government to continue funding important programs like education, job training, and health care that impact you, me, and working families.

Unfortunately Representative Palmer – a representative of Alabama – introduced a fundamentally misguided amendment to the appropriations bill that would bar D.C. from enforcing its own law that prevents employers from discriminating against women for their reproductive health decisions. The D.C. Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act (RHNDA) ensures, for example, that a woman cannot be fired for using birth control, having an abortion, or using IVF to get pregnant even if her employer does not agree with her decision. RHNDA makes clear that discrimination against women for their reproductive health decisions will not be tolerated in D.C.

The fact that we even need to say THIS LAW IS NECESSARY in 2017 is troubling; but, unfortunately some bosses think that women’s reproductive health care decisions are an employer’s business and are a fireable offense.

And clearly the House of Representatives does too. Representative Palmer’s amendment passed by a vote of 214 to 194. Meaning D.C. is in very real danger of no longer being able to enforce this important law.

Unbelievable.

All of this is unacceptable. Why are some of our elected representatives working so incredibly hard to allow bosses to discriminate against employees for their private reproductive health decisions? It’s clear they don’t trust women to make the reproductive health decision that is right for them.

Thankfully, none of these provisions are a done deal. The appropriations process will continue until a final budget is agreed upon by both the House and the Senate. We hope that members ultimately do the right thing by staying out of D.C.’s affairs, and affirming the right of D.C. employees to make reproductive health decisions free from discrimination.