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New California Bill Bans Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health Choices
For immediate release: February 14, 2017
Contact: Rebecca Griffin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415.500.8123
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced the Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act (AB 569), a bill sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California that would protect employees who work in California from workplace discrimination based on their personal reproductive health care decisions. For example, it would prohibit an employer from firing an employee for using in vitro fertilization or birth control.
"All women should have the ability to make private decisions that affect their reproductive health without risking their jobs,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. "People should be judged at work based on their performance, not on their personal, private reproductive health care decisions. As we face a federal government that has shown a disturbing disregard for women's rights, California should take a stand for our values and protect our privacy and economic security. "
"There are employers who cross the line by invading the privacy and personal lives of the women who work for them, and far too often women are punished financially for becoming pregnant and having children. It’s unacceptable,” said Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher. "A woman should never face repercussions in the workplace for her reproductive choices.”
Women around the country have been threatened or fired from their jobs because of their reproductive health choices:
- Financial aid specialist Teri James was fired from San Diego Christian College in 2012 for becoming pregnant while unmarried.
- In 2015, the Archbishop of San Francisco added a morality clause to teacher contracts that condemned same-sex relationships, premarital sex, sperm donation and assisted reproductive technologies. The Diocese of Santa Rosa dropped a similar plan after facing backlash.
- Emily Herx was fired from her teaching job at a Catholic school in Indiana for using in vitro fertilization.
- In 2014, after an anonymous letter revealed her pregnancy, unmarried middle school teacher Shaela Evenson was fired by a Catholic school district in Montana for having sex outside of marriage. She was fired despite her 10 year career at the school and the fact that the principal called her an "excellent teacher.”
The RHNDA takes on special significance as the federal government is in the hands of anti-choice politicians who have shown support for government-sanctioned discrimination. As governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence signed into law a co-called "religious freedom” bill giving businesses a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. It has been reported that the Trump administration drafted a sweeping executive order that would allow for discrimination against women and LGBTQ individuals using the guise of "religious liberty.”