On June 18, 2013, the US House of Representatives passed the woefully inaccurately titled ďPain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,Ē which would ban abortions in the United States after 20 weeks. The vote was along party lines (though six Democrats voted with Republicans) and was purely symbolic as it will never make it to the Senate or get the Presidentís signature.
This bill was approved by a committee of 19 men. During vote time, however, Republicans made sure that nearly all of the women in their party spoke in support of the bill. There are only 19 Republican women in the House.
The passage of this bill is just the latest in a long line of anti-women policies of the current GOP. While there are numerous examples of state actions that have been passed, largely around the abortion issue, the House GOP has been furthering the war on women on the national front.
In May of this year, the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) for the 37th time — the 3rd time since the 113th Congress session started in January.
Some of the greatest accomplishments of the ACA are the provisions relating to womenís health, including guaranteed preventive services such as mammograms and birth control with no deductibles or co-pays. It also prevents women being charged more than men for insurance, provides prenatal care and preventive care for infants and children.
The ACA will not be repealed, but as Republicans have indicated 37 times, they want women left without these new advancements.
Often, itís not about action for the House. Their real talent is inaction.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination of wages on the basis of sex. The legislation seeks to ďclose loopholes in the Equal Pay Act by allowing employees to share salary information with coworkers, prohibiting employer retaliation, and requiring employers to demonstrate that disparities in pay between male and female colleagues result from seniority, productivity, or merit ó not gender.Ē
This bill has been sitting in committee since its introduction on January 23, 2013, the start of the current session. GOP leadership refuses to move it out of committee.
Two days before they repealed the ACA in May, the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act was introduced. This bill would eliminate discrimination by employers and require them to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and related medical issues. This would be as simple as allowing her to sit on a stool instead of standing for eight hours or allowing her to drink water at her workstation. Many employers refuse to do that.
While itís illegal to discriminate against women for being pregnant, employers regularly refuse to accommodate them in the later stages of pregnancy and have fired with them with impunity. State laws vary on protections and many women donít know what their rights are. This bill would set federal standards that would protect all pregnant working women.
Itís been sitting in committee since it was introduced May 14, 2013. Leadership felt that an unnecessary, and probably unconstitutional, anti-choice bill should take priority.
The question is — will women remember when they vote? Assuming women are still allowed to vote when the time comes.
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