The DC Council recently passed a very good bill called the Reproductive Health Non-discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA), which would protect DC workers from discrimination based on their reproductive health care decisions.
For example, it would prohibit an employer from firing an employee for using in vitro fertilization or birth control.
Sounds like common sense, right? Your boss shouldn’t be able to fire you for using birth control.
But there are two issues for RHNDA
First, the DC Home Rule Act sets up a pretty complicated process for how a bill becomes a law in Washington, DC. Congress reviews all legislation passed by the democratically elected DC Council before it can become law, and if members of Congress decide they don’t like what they see, things can get a little messy.
That gets us to the second issue: This week, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the House of Representatives will consider H.J.Res.43, a resolution introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6) disapproving of RHNDA (yes, that’s the same Diane Black who wants to defund Planned Parenthood). If the resolution is passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, RHDNA wouldn’t go into effect in DC.
And to make matters even worse, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-4) introduced a related resolution disapproving of another DC bill — a bill to protect LGBT students from discrimination. Meanwhile, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced both the anti-women’s health resolution and the anti-LGBT resolution in the Senate.
We can’t believe we need to keep saying this, but here we go: Reproductive health decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, not her boss. That’s why, at the DC Council, the DC Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists testified in support of RHNDA:
As women’s health specialists, we rely on the sanctity of the provider-patient relationship. Health care decisions, including reproductive health choices, should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers and be based solely on the best interests of the patient.
But politicians like Rep. Black and Sen. Cruz will stop at nothing to interfere in a woman’s personal medical decisions, making them gynoticians of the worst kind.
What’s more, the effort to block this commonsense law is part of a dangerous agenda to allow bosses to discriminate based on their personal beliefs.
We’ve seen this agenda sweeping states like Indiana and Arkansas, where laws allowing businesses to discriminate based on religion launched an unprecedented backlash from the public and corporate America.
Let’s be clear:
RHNDA is a local bill that was passed by the DC Council to protect women and their families from discrimination. It is absurd that an anti-women’s health member of Congress from Tennessee could prevent it from taking effect. We’re all entitled to our beliefs, but that doesn’t give bosses a right to discriminate against women for their personal health care decisions.
We hope Congress agrees, and that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee rejects H.J.Res.43 this week.
Dana Singiser is the Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America