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 supports a host of terrible things against 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 the 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.
Feministing writer Sejal Singh notes 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 their employers could fire them.
Singh writes that the legislation also imposes medically unnecessary regulations on abortion providers, like forcing them to forward 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 Center for Reproductive Rights reiterates that there is no medical need for procedures such as these. They do require a monetary and mental cost though, and the grand plan is that by harassing abortion providers with expensive mandates and slanted inspections, they will 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, Singh reports that the language is "less clear" on birth control.
If it comes to it, it is a fight that must be had. 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.