As Congress Advances Legislation Promoting Discrimination in DC; Rep Norton, Local Business Leaders and NARAL Pro-Choice America Fight Back

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Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com 

Anna Zuccaro, 914.523.9145, anna@fitzgibbonmedia.com

As Congress Advances Legislation Promoting Discrimination in DC; Rep Norton, Local Business Leaders and NARAL Pro-Choice America Fight Back

WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of the Nation’s Capital held a press conference to support the over one hundred small business owners who are against any Congressional action to block two local landmark non-discrimination bills in Washington, D.C.

In December, the Washington, D.C. city council unanimously passed two laws —The Reproductive-Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA)—that prevent discriminatory treatment of employees and students. Recently, anti-choice politicians in U.S. House of Representatives, who are not accountable to residents of the District, passed legislation to nullify the necessary protections. Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations approved a budget that blocks local or federal funds being used to implement or enforce the RHNDAA in D.C.

During the press conference, Congresswoman Norton, NARAL Pro-Choice America Senior Vice President of Campaigns and Strategy Sasha Bruce, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Ray Carey, Executive Director of the ACLU Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, and the Owner and Operator of Cork and Cork Market Khalid Pitts, discussed the importance of these protections for the employees in Washington, D.C.

“We believe that no woman should be denied by her employer the right to decide if, when, and with whom to have a child due to her zip code, income, income source, or her employer’s outdated personal views.” said Sasha Bruce, senior vice-president of campaigns and strategy for NARAL Pro-Choice America. “While anti-choice lawmakers in Congress continue to find new and cowardly ways to restrict access to health care for women living in Washington, D.C., small business owners are standing up and telling them no. Women and families in the District deserve better. I am proud to stand with the business owners who are speaking out against the congressional overreach."

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“NARAL Pro-Choice America and our human rights allies have been steadfast defenders of the District of Columbia’s right to self-government,” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said. “Now, the business community has joined our traditional allies in a coalition that will surely strengthen our efforts to make Congress understand it must respect our laws, especially our anti-discrimination laws.”

“Today, as we join a large and diverse coalition of groups and people committed to advancing basic rights for all, we send a message that is loud and clear to Congress: you can’t use faith as an excuse to force your prejudices on us; you can’t stand in the way of full freedom, justice, and equality for all; and you can’t stop progress – not here in the District and not across the nation.” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force.

"Our District employees must be able to count on being protected from discrimination. We will not stand by and watch as opponents call on Congress to violate the spirit of the Home Rule Act – the District must be allowed to exercise its power of self-governance without undue interference.” said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital.

“As small business owners we oppose any actions that would overturn DC non-discrimination laws and support protections against workplace discrimination for our employees.” said Khalid Pitts, owner and operator of Cork and Cork Market. ”Small business owners in the District strive to create healthy workplaces for all our employees, one of the ways we do this by ensuring that men and women are free to make their own personal, private health care decisions.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America recently collected signatures from over one hundred small business owners onto a letter that asks Congress to oppose any actions that seek to undermine the legislative decisions of the D.C. City Council. Read the letter here: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/assets/download-files/dc-nda-businesses-letter.pdf

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NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

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