LGBTQ and Repro Advocates Unite For Reproductive Freedom
On Tuesday, June 23rd, National LGBTQ Task Force’s Rea Carey, joined leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice America and ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, along with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and small business owner, Khalid Pitts of Cork Market for a press conference at local Cork Market. All banded together to speak out against the recent Congressional efforts to undermine the District’s new non -discrimination laws.
In December, the Washington, D.C. Council unanimously passed two non-discrimination laws—The Reproductive-Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA). These laws prevent discriminatory treatment of employees and students respectively. Even though they are not accountable to D.C. residents, certain anti-choice politicians in Congress have made repeated attempts to nullify the RHNDAA.
According to Congresswoman Norton, the funding bill that includes language that would weaken RHNDAA may be on the House floor as soon as next week. She and other D.C. community and business members are tirelessly working to ensure that the law remains intact and that DC’s important protections are not undermined by this latest political maneuver.
At the press event, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, delivered the following remarks:
It is an honor to stand here today alongside NARAL Pro-Choice America, the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Khalid Pitts of Cork Market.
For decades LGBTQ advocates, women’s rights groups, civil rights leaders, and the business community have stood shoulder to shoulder in the work to eliminate discrimination and secure full freedom, justice, and equality for all, across the country and here in the District of Columbia.
And while reproductive rights and access to healthcare are human rights, there are still those who wonder: why should the reproductive rights movement be interested in freedom and equality for LGBTQ people? Why should the LGBTQ community be interested in reproductive rights?
There are several reasons: straight and LGBTQ people use birth control, need access to safe abortions and fertility treatments, and transgender people need access to a full range of health services to be their whole selves. In fact, young queer and bisexual women experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy than the overall population.
We also recognize that those who move these harmful laws, or try to block the District’s fair laws, have a world view that disavows both women’s empowered decisions about our bodies and lives, and LGBTQ people’s empowered decisions about how to build our own families.
Straight and LGBTQ people stand together in our need for reproductive rights and justice and our respective legal rights and destinies have long been intertwined through Supreme Court decisions going back over 40 years. The latest of which was last year’s Hobby Lobby ruling, which then served as the inspiration for Indiana’s recent blanket discrimination law — a law that was so broad in its original version that it could have been applied to everyone.
Much has changed since the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. The new political environment is one in which equality opponents—those attempting to deny access and roll back advances to reproductive health and basic rights to LGBTQ people—have used the decision as an inspiration to pass discriminatory laws using the guise of religious liberty.
Despite the continued attacks on reproductive rights and LGBTQ freedom, we continue standing together.
We wholeheartedly support laws designed to preserve employees’ reproductive freedoms and prohibit discrimination against LGBT students. We oppose any lawmakers’ attempts to roll back progress by using faith to foster discrimination.
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 hear in the District and not across the nation.
by Beckham Rivera, National LGBTQ Task Force Holley Law Fellow