April 24, 2015
"Colorado Pro-Choice Advocates: Giving Legal Rights to Fetuses Doesn’t Protect Pregnant Wom[e]n," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check: "Colorado pro-choice activists on Wednesday decried a bill (SB 15-268) introduced ... in response to a grotesque crime against a pregnant woman that would give 'personhood' rights to fetuses," Salzman writes. He notes that during a news conference before a hearing on the measure, "pro-choice advocates urged lawmakers to focus on measures to protect women from violence instead of giving fetuses legal rights that could be used to arrest pregnant women." For example, Salzman notes that Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, asked, '"Why are we having a conversation about how many years is long enough (to incarcerate someone for destroying a fetus), rather than asking whether these laws do anything to deter violence against pregnant women, to protect pregnancies, embryos, and fetuses?"' Meanwhile, Salzman notes that other abortion-rights supporters said the state's current law against such crimes -- which "does not give legal rights to fetuses" -- already imposes "severe penalties" on individuals who illegally terminate pregnancies while simultaneously protecting pregnant women and medical professionals from prosecution (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 4/23).
"A 'New Low'? GOP Tries To Block D.C.'s New Reproductive Health Law," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday voted 20-16 to advance a measure that aims "to overturn a new law [Act 20-593] that would protect women in Washington, D.C., from being fired due to their reproductive health-care choices," Crockett writes. Supporters of the law, D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, cite "cases of non-Catholic women who become pregnant out of wedlock being fired from Catholic schools as an example of why the law is needed," Crockett notes, explaining that "[l]aws against gender discrimination or pregnancy discrimination don't always cover cases in which a woman's reproductive health choices run afoul of her employer's ideology." Meanwhile, the law's opponents, "which include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops," have "claim[ed] that it would restrict religious freedom," Crockett writes. She notes that because the effort to halt the law is "unlikely to succeed," opponents have "urged House budget leaders to stop the new law by blocking funds to implement it" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 4/22).