For Immediate Release
May 6, 2014
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Grosso’s Reproductive Rights Legislation to Protect Women and Families
Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, a bill to amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to ensure that individuals are protected from discrimination by an employer or employment agency based on an individual’s reproductive health decision making, including a decision to use a particular drug, device, or medical service based on an employer’s personal beliefs about such methods of family planning.
Nationally, there have been a number of disturbing cases of bosses retaliating against employees for their reproductive health care decisions. For example, in Wisconsin, after the state legislature passed a law requiring insurance plans to cover contraception, the Catholic diocese told employees that if they used the benefit, they would be fired. In the past 4 years alone, individuals in California, Texas, Montana, and Indiana have brought discrimination suits against their employers after being fired from their jobs for being pregnant without being married.
Recently, a Supreme Court case brought by Hobby Lobby explored whether the federal government can require for-profit companies to provide coverage for forms of birth control that conflict with the company owners’ personal religious beliefs. The Hobby Lobby case is only one of more than 100 federal lawsuits by employers seeking to limit contraception coverage benefits that are available under the Affordable Care Act.
“An employer should not be able to tell their employee whether or not they can access certain kinds of health care,” said Grosso. “While the District enjoys some of the strongest non-discrimination laws in the country, this specific legislation signals that we stand by the rights of women and families to make their own reproductive health decisions without involvement from their employer.”