House Republicans quietly voted to overturn a local D.C. law last night that bars discrimination against women who exercise their reproductive rights.
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act became law in 2014 but anti-women Republicans introduced H.J. Resolution 43 to destroy it. Raw Story contributor Joan Schipp described the debate and her own effort to report on it:
Thursday’s House floor debate kicked off after 9:00 PM. Before I entered the doors to the House Gallery, I complied with a police request to forfeit all my electronic devices. I inquired if I could get a press pass so I could take pictures. After a few radio calls, officials on the scene told me I could not have a press pass. So I relinquished my phone and proceeded to go in the Gallery anyway.
In addition, Schipp was also prohibited from taking notes by hand, meaning that if you wanted to know what House Republicans were up to, CSPAN was the only option.
Nevertheless, Schipp witnessed D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton defending the law against the GOP attack on women’s rights and her district’s ability to govern itself. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the resolution “Hobby Lobby on steroids,” referring to the Supreme Court ruling that allowed the “Christian” owned corporation to deny their female employees reproductive health services.
Anti-abortion groups claim the D.C. law forces employers to cover abortion in their health insurance policies for their female employees, but it actually just covers contraception methods and in vitro fertilization. But because conservatives ignorantly believe that birth control causes abortions, they pushed House Republicans into trying to overturn it.
This isn’t the first time House Republicans have tried to force their anti-woman agenda upon the residents of the District of Columbia either. Back in 2012, Arizona Republican Trent Franks introduced a 20 week abortion ban based on unscientific claims that fetuses feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Unlike this year, Holmes was blocked from speaking out against this bill. The very next year, Franks tried again, only to insult women even more by having the audacity to claim that very few women get pregnant through rape.
In the end, despite Holmes Norton’s plea to leave the law intact, 225 Republicans voted in favor of escalating their war on women under the guise of religious freedom. The resolution now moves to the Senate, and if Republicans approve it employers will have the ability to fire women just for using birth control to prevent themselves from having an unwanted pregnancy. And then D.C. would have something else in common with Arizona, where Republicans have already made such a thing perfectly legal under their Christian version of Sharia law.