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by Congressman Jerry Nadler
The war on women has enetered a dangerous new phase. Over the course of the last several weeks, Republicans have blocked efforts to combat domestic violence and workplace discrimination while introducing measures that would significantly curtail reproductive freedoms. This radical social agenda has been pursued at the expense of focusing on what should be our highest priority: creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
One of the bills that was recently brought to the floor, H.R. 3541, would mandate that doctors inquire into a woman’s reasons for seeking an abortion and to refuse the procedure if they suspect gender as a motivation. Despite the lack of any evidence that gender-based abortion is common, this bill would bar a woman from having an abortion on the basis of such motives. Not only would this grossly interfere with the patient-doctor relationship in an effort to solve a non-existent problem, but it would create a chilling effect on all doctors and hospitals that provide constitutionally-protected reproductive health and abortion services.
A similarly misguided bill, H.R. 3803, would ban all abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This anti-choice measure relies on the scientifically controversial notion of ‘fetal pain’ to justify restricting a woman’s reproductive rights against the objections of the local government. As an additional affront, during the Judiciary Committee hearing on this bill, the District of Columbia’s representative in Congress was barred from speaking out in defense of her constituents’ rights and opinions—a violation not only of Congressional courtesy, but of fundamental decency. That is why I joined D.C.’s mayor and representative in Congress to strongly oppose the bill and to demand fair treatment for the people of the District of Columbia.
Unfortunately, these divisive battles over social issues reach beyond reproductive rights. In the Senate, every single Republican voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help to finally close the pay gap between men and women. At a time when millions are struggling just to make ends meet, wage discrimination is not only wrong but is doing real harm to American families.
We must reject this radical social ideology and return to the task of creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
:: photo courtesy of Congressman Jerry Nadler ::