Missouri state Republicans have been placing themselves squarely between women and their rights for awhile now, and it would be getting old if the repercussions weren't so grim.
The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would do a whole lot of terrible things to women and their families, including allowing an employer to fire a female employee who is taking birth control, had an abortion, or becomes pregnant out of wedlock.
It's mystifying as to why an employer would be privy to this information or think that they have a right to it in the first place, as it's frankly none of their business. Furthermore, it's outrageous that lawmakers would think it appropriate for an employer to be able to exercise such control over a female employee's personal life and intimate decisions she alone must make about her body.
This bill, SB 5, is a direct attack on the agency of women and makes them vulnerable to the sexist and discriminatory beliefs of others.
SB 5 doesn't stop there though. If it passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens, a very anti-choice man, it would allow landlords to deny housing to women or evict them for the same reasons employers could fire them.
It also imposes unnecessary regulations on abortion providers, like forcing them to send fetal tissue to a pathologist within five days of an abortion and operate on eggshells in case of a spontaneous investigation by the state. Republicans claim this is for the woman's health, but the truth is that there is no medical need for procedures such as this. They do require a monetary and mental cost though, and the grand plan is that by harassing abortion providers with expensive laws and slanted inspections, they will be forced to close.
The Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents employers from discriminating against women for choosing to have an abortion, so backlash to SB 5 will have strong legal backing in this regard. However, the language is less clear about birth control, so the verdict on this subject may not be as clear-cut.
Nevertheless the fight must be had because with all the strides forward that women have made over the past few decades, in an era such as this it gives them a lot to lose.