Wednesday, the Washington, DC City Council unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit employer interference in the reproductive health decisions of their employees.
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was first introduced by DC Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), just ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of for-profit retail chain Hobby Lobby this summer. The bill amends DC’s 1977 Human Rights Act and “expands discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based upon the reproductive health decisions of an employee, their spouse or their dependent.” The original Human Rights Act includes language that explicitly protects DC residents from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy status, childbirth, or related medical conditions or needs.
Some advocates say the bill could be interpreted as a reversal of the controversial Hobby Lobby decision, but according to a committee report, the bill “is not about insurance coverage, but rather about employee discrimination.”
Outgoing DC Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign the bill before year’s end. As in the case of all legislation in DC, the measure will still need to be approved by both chambers of Congress and President Barack Obama before it can be fully enacted.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 12/18/14; Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Report on Bill 20-790, 12/15/14; DavidGrosso.org News 6/30/14; Feminist Newswire 7/1/14; National Partnership for Women 12/18/14