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Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel

Leila Abolfazli is Senior Counsel in the Health and Reproductive Rights Program at NWLC. She works on a range of issues involving the protection and expansion of reproductive rights at the federal level. Prior to joining the NWLC, Ms. Abolfazli was a Senior Associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Emory University and Georgetown University Law Center.

My Take

Déjà Vu: House Tries Again to Make Reproductive Decisions a Fireable Offense

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: June 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

A couple of months ago, the House of Representatives passed a bill to undo a D.C. law, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA), that protects women from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions. Fortunately for D.C. residents, because the Senate did not take up the bill to undo D.C.’s law within the allowed time frame, the law took effect on May 2.

The D.C. law is quite simple really. It says that employees shouldn’t be fired for choosing if, when, and how to start a family. Why we would need this law in 2015 is more than troubling; but, unfortunately—even today—some bosses think that the personal reproductive health decisions we make are fair game for retaliation at work.

Now back to the House of Representatives. Never one to miss an opportunity to attack women’s health, the House has decided once again to try to stop the D.C. law. This time it is using its spending power to deny D.C. the ability to use its own local funds to implement this local law.

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Good News for Military Servicemembers Who Use Birth Control

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 15, 2015 at 03:33 pm

The House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that provides funds for the military. The bill includes provisions that support the health care needs for members of the Armed Services and their dependents.

This year, the House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions that would improve women servicemembers’ access to birth control. It provides for comprehensive counseling and education about contraception. And, the House bill would ensure a woman servicemember has access to the birth control she needs at all times, particularly when she is deployed.

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Another Week, Another Bad Vote on Women's Health

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

Back in January of this year, the House of Representatives was all set to vote on H.R. 36, a nationwide ban on abortions at twenty weeks. But a slight hiccup forced them to abandon the bill and instead vote on another really bad bill that would ban virtually all insurance coverage of abortion.

What was the hiccup, you ask? Did they realize that women have a constitutional right to abortion and H.R. 36 would violate that right? Or did they suddenly wake up, remember they aren't medical experts and conclude that they shouldn't meddle with such private, reproductive health decisions?

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The House of Representatives Tells D.C. Women - Your Reproductive Health Decisions Are Fair Game for Your Boss to Fire You

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: May 01, 2015 at 10:22 am

Congressional attacks on reproductive health often happen stealthily. For example:

For a Congress that really, really wants to restrict reproductive health care, it looks like it really, really doesn't want the public to know what they are up to.

So what's the latest?

Late Tuesday afternoon, the House leadership agreed to allow a floor vote on H.J. Res. 43. And on Thursday night CLOSE TO 11 P.M., the House approved the resolution.

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It Won’t Surprise You, But the House Wants to Allow Bosses to Fire Women for Their Personal Reproductive Health Decisions

Posted by Leila Abolfazli, Senior Counsel | Posted on: April 22, 2015 at 03:26 pm

We all know that the majority in the House of the Representatives doesn’t look too kindly on women’s constitutional right to privacy, which includes the right to use birth control and to have an abortion. Already four months into the new Congress, the majority has voted to permanently ban any federal insurance or health program from covering abortion except in very limited circumstances. It tried to pass an unconstitutional bill that would ban abortions after twenty-weeks but only failed to do so because of an internal disagreement about whether rape survivors must report their rape to get their abortions covered.

Why do these House members want to ban insurance coverage of reproductive health care and ban some abortions? Because they want to impose their own personal beliefs about birth control and abortion on the clear majority of the American population who does not hold similar views. They want to legislate women’s bodies and interfere in women’s reproductive health decisions.

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