House of Representatives Votes to Overrule a D.C. Law for First Time in 24 Years (Hint: It’s about Contraception and Abortion)

Tuesday, May 05, 2015
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee)

Republicans in the U.S. House have once again have tried to curtail women’s reproductive rights, this time by trying for the first time in 24 years to overturn a District of Columbia law.

With all but 13 GOP lawmakers voting together, the House approved a resolution 228-192 to undo a D.C. law prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers, their spouses or dependents for using family planning services or birth control. It also keeps employers from firing an employee for having an abortion.

But the resolution, introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tennessee), went no further because the Senate took no action on it before a 30-day deadline by which Congress must overturn a D.C. law before it goes into effect.

The House maneuver “marked the first time either chamber of Congress has passed legislation to stop a D.C. law since 1991,” according to The Hill, “when the House voted to disapprove of the city council’s action to amend a law that restricts the height of the District’s buildings.”

The focus of the GOP action this time was the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, which went into effect on May 2.

Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting representative in Congress, blasted House lawmakers for meddling in her constituents’ affairs. “This resolution is wildly undemocratic. It is a naked violation of the nation’s founding principle of local control of local affairs and is profoundly offensive to D.C. residents. This resolution uniquely targets my district, but every member will get to vote on it except for me, the District’s elected representative,” Norton said.

Even if the resolution had passed both houses of Congress, President Obama had already promised to veto it, saying it had the “unacceptable effect of undermining the will of District of Columbia citizens.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

D.C. Reproductive Health Bill Survives Despite House Vote to Overrule It (by Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check)

House Votes To Overturn D.C.’s Reproductive Health Law (by Cristina Marcos, The Hill)

Norton Claims Victory For Two D.C. Anti-Discrimination Laws That Survived Disapproval Resolutions, Will Take Effect Tomorrow (Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton)

“Abortion Law”: Media Adopt GOP’s Characterization Of D.C. Anti-Discrimination Legislation (by Alexandrea Boguhn, Media Matters for America)


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