I’m a DC resident. An Alabama congressman is trying to restrict my reproductive freedom.

Katie Ardizzone, NARAL Pro-Choice America member

DC residents have the misfortune of being subjected to the whims of politicians who know next to nothing about our community. As a resident of DC for three years, I know all too well what it’s like to have out-of-state legislators, people no one in DC elected, enact laws and policies that impact my city. Unfortunately, we’re experiencing more of the same this week from Republican Representative Gary Palmer of Alabama, who is attempting to block protections for women’s reproductive freedoms here in DC once again.

Palmer is out to block the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) an existing DC law that guarantees women in the District the right to make personal health decisions about our reproductive healthcare without fearing discrimination and retaliation from employers. It prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because they disagree with their personal and private health decisions, like whether or not to have an abortion, or take birth control. Most importantly, it means that women like myself have the ability to make decisions about our bodies and our futures, and can do what’s best for ourselves and our families.

Let’s be clear: Representative Palmer’s latest attempt to block our reproductive freedom is yet another direct attack on women as part of a relentless campaign by Republicans to undermine our rights. Blocking these protections leaves women in my community vulnerable, and threatens to enshrine discrimination into our laws.

While this latest attempt by Republicans to push their anti-choice and out of touch agenda isn’t anything new, it especially hurts because it violates the spirit of DC’s home rule. We didn’t elect Representative Palmer and he does not represent us, so he should take his #HandsOffDC and quit imposing his backwards, anti-choice agenda onto our families.

DC women should never fear being fired for their decisions about their own bodies and lives. Those decisions should be a woman’s alone. This isn’t about “religious freedom” as the opposition likes to say it is. It’s about making sure that women in the District can access their most basic freedoms regardless of who signs their paychecks. Our employers shouldn’t impose their personal beliefs on the decisions we make about our own health and how to raise our families.

Deciding if and when to have a family is one of the most important decisions a person can make. Empowering women to make decisions about their futures ensures we have the equal opportunities to succeed. Most women choose to take birth control, and around 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the time they turn 45. Women know what’s best for us, our families, and our futures. Politicians and employers should trust women, not impose their beliefs on us.

When policymakers last attempted to block RHNDA and take away reproductive freedom for women in the District, NARAL successfully brought together over 100 DC businesses and 1,000 residents to protect the law and our rights. As a proud NARAL member, I know we will continue working to fight this latest attack on our rights, and hold politicians like Representative Palmer accountable. Even if policymakers don’t want to give us a voice, NARAL members and women in the District will continue making phone calls, protesting, and speaking out against attacks on our reproductive freedom. We hope you’ll join us in making an even stronger effort to protect our rights and make our voices heard.

Katie Ardizzone is a resident and activist in the District of Columbia, who is passionate about creating a community that is safe for all women and families.

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