House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., slammed House Republicans on Tuesday over a committee’s decision to consider overturning a Washington, D.C., law that prevents employers from firing workers over their use of birth control or other reproductive health decisions that go against the company’s views. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is scheduled to consider a bill to overturn the law Tuesday, a committee spokeswoman said.
“Republicans need to recognize that your personal health care choices are not your boss’ business,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Republicans should reconsider their egregious efforts to overturn D.C.’s sensible anti-discrimination law.”
Republicans have criticized the controversial law as unfair to employers who are against abortion. “I hope both chambers of Congress will act swiftly to pass our resolution so that we can stop this ill-conceived law and restore needed protections for those in the pro-life community who call D.C. home,” Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said in a statement last week, the Daily Signal reported. Black is sponsoring the House resolution to overturn the bill while 2016 presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is sponsoring the Senate version.
The D.C. law, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, prevents employers from firing workers who use birth control or undergo in vitro fertilization or other reproductive health services. “Allowing employers to fire employees for using birth control or in vitro fertilization or any other reproductive health care service is an unconscionable intrusion into workers’ personal lives,” Pelosi said. “By disapproving D.C.’s law, House Republicans would even allow employers to fire employees for the reproductive health decisions that their employees’ spouses and dependents make.”
D.C. legislators satisfied critics by adding language to the law last month stating employers wouldn’t be forced to cover abortions or other reproductive health procedures, the Washington Times reported. “This emergency amendment is meant to remove any ambiguity as to whether the law … would require employers to provide insurance coverage for reproductive health care to employees despite an employer’s moral or religious objection,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told the paper.
Congress can overturn laws made by the D.C. Council. Local D.C. lawmakers also need Congress to approve the district's budget and other matters.