Pelosi rips GOP effort to undermine DC reproductive health law

Pelosi rips GOP effort to undermine DC reproductive health law
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammered Republicans Thursday over their resolution to scrap a new D.C. law barring workplace discrimination based on reproductive health choices.

The California Democrat, who has long-championed women's reproductive health rights, said the measure runs counter to the Republicans' traditional small-government credos and poses "an outrageous intrusion into workers' personal lives."

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"If you believe that there should be no rule of government, if you want to shut down government, if you don't believe in governance, how is it that all of that is cast aside when it comes to women's reproductive freedom?" Pelosi asked reporters in the Capitol. 

"It seems to me totally inconsistent with the anti-government rhetoric that we hear around here morning, noon and night — this is Hobby Lobby on steroids," she added, referring to last year's Supreme Court ruling that certain employers don't have to cover some contraceptive services under the Affordable Care Act. "Republicans need to recognize that your own healthcare choices are not your boss's business."

Sponsored by Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.), the GOP resolution disapproves of a new D.C. law, enacted in January, that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their reproductive health choices, including decisions to seek contraception or abortion services — past or present.

Conservative supporters say the law could force D.C.-based employers — including anti-abortion-rights groups — to cover services that violate their religious beliefs.

"Organizations whose mission is to empower women facing unplanned pregnancies with physical and emotional support or who advocate for policies that affirm the dignity and value of both mother and child in law could be forced to provide health insurance for the life-ending procedure they oppose," Ryan T. Anderson and Sarah Torre, with the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote in opposing the bill. 

Democrats have decidedly different views. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, warned this month that Black's resolution "would permit District employers to fire a woman because she had an abortion after being raped, demote a man because his wife chooses to use a birth control pill, pay an employee less because his or her teenage daughter became pregnant out of wedlock, and impose a host of other penalties based on ideologies that discriminate against certain reproductive health decisions."

"Far be it from me to give Republicans political advice, but this is a new low," Cummings said.

Behind Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzNunes retirement move seen as sign of power shift in GOP Congress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows MORE (R-Utah), the Oversight panel approved the measure 20 to 16 along strict party lines, marking the first time in 23 years that a House committee has sent legislation overturning a D.C. law to the chamber floor.

The House is expected to vote on the measure Friday night. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine On The Money — Ban on stock trading for Congress gains steam MORE (R-Texas), a 2016 presidential hopeful, has sponsored a Senate companion bill, though the measure is not expected to have the support to move through the upper chamber.

Pelosi said the House vote is infuriating enough. 

"It really makes me angry because … I'm the mother of five in six years. And when anybody's had five children in six years almost to the day, come talk to me about this," she fumed. "How dare they, especially those who are so anti-government, to all of a sudden have government making decisions about reproductive health."