Strengthening Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2019

Introduced: September 17, 2019

Co-introducers: Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Elissa Silverman, Brianne Nadeau, Mary Cheh, Brandon Todd, and Charles Allen


Summary: To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to recognize the right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization and to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term to term, to give birth, or to have an abortio, to prohibit the District government from interfering with reproductive health decisions and from imposing a punishment or penalty on an individual for a self-managed abortion, miscarriage, or adverse pregnancy outcomes, and to prohibit employment discrimination against health care professionals based on the professional’s participation in or the fact that the health care professional is willing to participate in, abortion or sterilization procedures.

Councilmember Grosso's Introduction Statement:

Thank you Mr. Chairman, today along with Councilmembers Bonds, Silverman, Nadeau, Cheh, Todd, and Allen, I am introducing the Strengthening Reproductive Health Protections Amendment Act of 2019.

 Across the country, reproductive health decisions—and specifically abortion rights—are under attack.

At the same time the Trump administration is fulfilling its promise to nominate more conservative federal judges, legislatures across the country are enacting unconstitutional laws that restrict access to abortion.

In some cases, laws like Alabama’s, the strictest abortion ban in the country, are crafted in such a way to force the court to revisit Roe v. Wade.

In other states, the laws are meant to make access to abortion so difficult that it will not matter whether Roe stands or not.

D.C. residents have the right, in consultation with their doctor and free from government interference, to make medical decisions about contraception, abortion, or carrying a pregnancy to term.

With this bill, the District has the unique opportunity to enshrine a positive right to choose into the D.C. Human Rights Act, leaving no doubt that the District of Columbia stands for reproductive health freedom. The bill will:

  • Recognize the right to choose or refuse abortion care, sterilization procedures, or contraceptives;

  • Prohibit penalizing self-managed abortion; and

  •  Prohibit discrimination against health care professionals by a health care provider, based on the professional’s participation in abortion care.

Since January, 10 states have passed total or near-total bans on abortion.

It is more important than ever to enact policies that articulate a positive right protecting safe, legal abortion.

While we are well aware that the District of Columbia is subject to the whims of Congress, we are fortunate right now to have a pro-reproductive health majority in the House of Representatives;

Nevertheless, it is imperative that as a city we do our part to protect the rights of our residents.

We need lasting protection for reproductive health access now, no matter what happens in Congress.

This legislation ensures that everyone in D.C. has access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion.

Our residents deserve more access to health care, not less. This bill will help to secure a future that safeguards abortion care and respects decision-making.

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