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House Votes To Block D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Law

House Votes To Block D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Law

May 1, 2015 — The House on Thursday voted 228-192 on a measure (HJR 43) to block a reproductive health non-discrimination law (Act 20-593) passed by the Washington, D.C., Council, the AP/New York Times reports (AP/New York Times, 4/30).

The vote marked the first time since 1991 that either the House or Senate has passed a bill to block a D.C. law from taking effect, according to The Hill (Marcos, The Hill, 4/30).

Background on Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Law

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 was passed by the D.C. Council in December. It amends the District's Human Rights Act of 1977 to include language prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees based on their reproductive health decisions (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/9).

Vote 'Largely Symbolic'

According to the AP/Times, the vote was "largely symbolic," as Congress is unlikely to meet a Saturday deadline to block the law before it takes effect. The Senate likely will not take up the measure by that date. In addition, the White House has issued a veto threat of the measure if it were to pass both chambers of Congress.

The White House wrote that the House bill, by blocking the D.C. law, would "give employers cover to fire employees for the personal decisions they make about birth control and their reproductive health" (AP/New York Times, 4/30).