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Resolution Passed Today Would Allow Bosses to Fire Women for Taking Birth Control or Having an Abortion

Washington, DC—Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC Action Fund today condemned a resolution passed by extreme politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives that unfairly allows employers in the District of Columbia to discriminate against their employees on the basis of their personal reproductive health decisions. The bill seeks to overturn the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA), which was passed unanimously by the Council of the District of Columbia to specifically prohibit this type of workplace discrimination. For example, the bill would prohibit an employer from firing an employee for using in vitro fertilization or birth control.

Introduced by Rep Diane Black (R-TN-6), the resolution of disapproval would disapprove the action of the DC Council in approving the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014. Should the resolution become law, it would in effect overturn the DC bill providing protection for employees from being fired for their private reproductive health care decisions.

“This is another extreme and deeply troubling attack on women by Republican leaders in Congress. This bill would make it open season for bosses to dig into their employees’ reproductive health practices and fire women for taking birth control or having an abortion,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This is just the latest in a slew of bills to give employers and businesses the right to discriminate against LGBT people, women, and others. This is dangerous, misguided, and deeply unpopular, and it’s outrageous that Congress is spending its time passing this kind of legislation.”

“Can you imagine the outrage in Tennessee if members of the DC City Council tried to interfere with a local bill passed in their home state or city? DC women should not have to worry that their personal reproductive health decisions could affect their employment because of the actions of politicians who aren’t elected to represent them and aren’t answerable to them as voters,” said Laura Meyers, Ph.D., president & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC Action Fund.

Today’s vote comes as Congress anticipates taking up another misguided ban on abortion after 20 weeks and takes place just two days after a Huffington Post/YouGov poll pointed out that Americans increasingly view the Republican Party as extreme.

Efforts to prevent this commonsense anti-discrimination measure from becoming law are particularly significant given bills moving in state legislatures around the country that would allow businesses to discriminate against their employees or deny services based on their religious beliefs. Recently laws in Indiana and Arkansas that allow businesses to discriminate based on religion captured the nation’s attention and launched an unprecedented backlash from the public and corporate America.

This bill and state laws that allow for this type of discrimination represent a broader agenda by anti-women’s health and anti-LGBT leaders in the House to roll back access to care and services.  Last week, Planned Parenthood joined dozens of reproductive rights and LGBTQ groups in a statement against congressional efforts to block RHNDA and another DC nondiscrimination bill — the Human Rights Amendment Act — that is designed to ensure that LGBT students in the District are not subject to discrimination by schools and universities (full text of the letter is here).