Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown vetoes workplace protection for reproductive health decisions

Assembly Bill 569 prohibits employers from punishing workers who use birth control, get an abortion or make other reproductive health decisions they disagree with.
Assembly Bill 569 prohibits employers from punishing workers who use birth control, get an abortion or make other reproductive health decisions they disagree with.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed legislation wading into the contentious debate over reproductive health rights and religious freedom in the workplace.

Assembly Bill 569 would have prohibited employers from punishing workers who use birth control, get an abortion or make other reproductive health decisions they disagree with.

The measure, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, follows the case of Teri James, who in 2012 was allegedly fired from her job at San Diego Christian College for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Supporters, such as co-sponsor NARAL Pro-Choice California, argued women should not be judged for their private health choices.

But it drew opposition from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, for opening another avenue of potential litigation. Some Catholic and other religious organizations also raised objections that it would infringe upon their freedom to practice their faith as they choose.

Brown, in his veto message, said such denials are already blocked by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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