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Federal judge blocks EEOC abortion...

Federal judge blocks EEOC abortion accommodation enforcement in Mississippi, Louisiana

By: Frank Corder - June 20, 2024

  • As the Attorneys General argue, the new EEOC rule requires employers to accommodate employees’ abortions even in states where elective abortions are generally illegal.

A federal judge in Louisiana has issued a preliminary injunction against a new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) rule that requires employers to provide time off and other accommodations for employees to have abortions.

Mississippi and Louisiana filed a legal challenge to the expanded Biden Administration rule in May, stating that the EEOC’s new requirement turns the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2022 “on its head.”

“A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers to accommodate employees’ abortions – the terminations of pregnancies – even in States like Louisiana and Mississippi where elective abortions of healthy pregnancies are generally illegal,” the Attorneys General argue.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act offered women “reasonable accommodations” for pregnancy-related matters while building on the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employers with at least 15 employees were subject to its provisions.

It is estimated that there are roughly 1.5 million pregnant women in the workforce during a year.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R) called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act an important measure to support women in the workplace when they are pregnant and following childbirth. Yet, the new EEOC rule goes against its purpose for want of providing abortion protections.

“It is a shame that the Biden Administration is shortchanging the needs of working women in its single-minded drive to undo the Dobbs opinion and overrule the right of the people to make decisions about abortion policy,” Fitch said in a statement. “We appreciate the court’s thoughtful opinion and look forward to working toward a commonsense implementation of the Act, which would accommodate pregnant women while respecting state laws to protect life.”

The Attorneys General point out that U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, specifically rejected the position the EEOC has embraced in the new rule during the debate on the legislation when he stated, “under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the [EEOC] could not – could not – issue any regulation that requires abortion leave, nor does the act permit the EEOC to require employers to provide abortions in violation of State law.”

The EEOC claims it is now justified in imposing the new rule, which was adopted by a 3-2 partisan vote, as it maintains its own interpretation of pregnancy-related anti-discrimination law.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic University and two Catholic dioceses also filed a legal challenge against the rule.

The Catholic Bishops previously supported the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, stating that the law would advance their “goal of ensuring that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child while protecting the conscience rights and religious freedoms of employers.”

However, the Catholic organizations now say the EEOC “hijacked” the bipartisan measure that protected expectant mothers and babies by mandating national abortion accommodation.

U.S. District Judge David Joseph consolidated the cases and issued an injunction for all concerned for the duration of the lawsuit.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: