Saturday 27 April 2024

Red States Sue Feds Over New Requirements For Employers To ‘Accommodate’ Abortions

 A group of Republican attorneys general are suing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over new rules that force employers to grant certain accommodations for their employees to get abortions. 

The suit from 17 states, led by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, argues that the EEOC is violating numerous laws to make the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act relate to abortion. The states argue that the rule will force them to allocate resources to support elective abortions — even if elective abortions are illegal in their states. 

Announced on Thursday, the suit comes after the EEOC voted 3-2 to assert that the meaning of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” included in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act includes abortion. This would mean that employers have to give accommodations for women to get abortions, such as granting time off to get an abortion or immediately after an abortion.  

“Congress passed the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to protect mothers-to-be and promote healthy pregnancies, and the EEOC’s attempt to rewrite that law into an abortion mandate is illegal,” Skrmetti said. “I’m proud to lead the coalition fighting to protect the rule of law against this unconstitutional federal overreach.”

The Republican officials argue that the rule violates the conditions laid out in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, infringes on state sovereignty, and violates the First Amendment. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which President Joe Biden signed in December 2022, requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant women. 

“Yet in a new rule, unelected commissioners at the EEOC seek to hijack these new protections for pregnancies by requiring employers to accommodate elective abortions — something the Act clearly did not authorize,” Skrmetti’s office said. “The EEOC’s rule constitutes an unconstitutional federal overreach that infringes on existing state laws and exceeds the scope of the agency’s authority.”


According to the EEOC, it received 54,000 comments urging it not to include abortion in the guidelines and 40,000 comments opposed. It said that many of the comments it received “expressed the view that abortion is the destruction of a human life, that it is objectionable for moral or religious reasons, and that it is not health care” while others claimed that commenters “expressed deeply held beliefs, including religious beliefs, that abortion is a necessary part of health care.”

“The PWFA also cannot be used to require an employer-sponsored health plan to pay for or cover any particular item, procedure, or treatment, including an abortion,” the EEOC said. “Given these limitations, the type of accommodation that most likely will be sought under the PWFA regarding an abortion is time off to attend a medical appointment or for recovery.”

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Republican attorneys general want the rule to be vacated and declared illegal.

No comments:

Post a Comment