(LifeSiteNews) – The Biden administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has proposed a rule that would define federal pregnancy nondiscrimination protections as requiring employers to cover abortions, warn two pro-life lawmakers calling for the rule to be changed before being finalized.
In an October 10 letter to EEOC chair Charlotte Burrows obtained by the Daily Signal, U.S. Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Mary Miller (R-IL) warn that a proposed rule concerning implementation of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which requires employers make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees, contains language defining “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” as encompassing “having or choosing not to have an abortion.”
As laid out in the letter, the PWFA does not include abortion in its text, and in fact the lawmakers who enacted it said they did so with the express understanding that it did not confer any requirement to facilitate, assist, or accommodate a decision to abort. In 2022, Catholic Vote warned that if passed, the PWFA would allow pro-life groups to be “sued if they don’t provide their employees special leave to get abortions,” as LifeSiteNews reported. “The EEOC does not typically act in a way that aligns with pro-life or Catholic views. In general, the EEOC has interpreted ‘pregnancy-related’ discrimination issues to include protecting workers’ ‘right’ to abortion,” Catholic Vote’s Erika Ahern noted at the time.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) supported the PWFA legislation – and the EEOC mentioned this very support when introducing the proposed pro-abortion regulations implementing the now-passed law. The USCCB supported the legislation alongside Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion company.
“The proposed rule defines ‘related medical conditions’ to include ‘use of birth control, menstruation, infertility and fertility treatments, [and] endometriosis,’ among other treatments and conditions,” Reps. Foxx and Miller’s letter adds. “By including treatments and conditions such as these, the proposed rule stretches its interpretation of the PWFA past the breaking point. As explained above, Congress intended the PWFA to address commonplace workplace needs of pregnant workers, such as access to water, additional bathroom breaks, or provision of a stool or chair.”
Critically, they note, the PWFA’s text also establishes that it is “subject to the applicability” of certain religious liberty protections, including an exemption for any “religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.”
“Either Chair Burrows and the entirety of the EEOC have misplaced their reading glasses, or they simply do not have a grasp on the English language,” Foxx said. “Nowhere in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act are there provisions that allow abortions and abortion services to be put in the express lane. The EEOC better stay in its own lane, respect congressional intent, and issue a final rule that’s in direct alignment with statutory text.”
“The Biden administration is committed to betraying the sanctity of life by pushing policies that undermine the rights of the unborn,” declared Miller. “As the mother of seven children and grandmother of 20, I am deeply committed to defending life. I will continue to fight against the Biden administration and the radical abortion industry to protect vulnerable children from the pro-abortion agenda from the Left.”
The situation is the latest case of the federal executive branch under President Joe Biden being mobilized into a multi-front effort to make abortion as practical as possible following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing the elected branches of government to directly ban abortion for the first time in half a century.
Thanks to that ruling, 15 states now ban all or most abortions, and many other previously-unenforceable pro-life laws are now in effect across the country. Available data so far indicates that these laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year.
In response, abortion allies pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easy access to abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the lethal practice in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
Biden, who boasts that his administration has launched a “launched a whole-of-government effort to protect reproductive rights” (a popular euphemism for legal abortion on demand), has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. The 2024 elections will determine whether Democrats retain the White House and keep or gain enough seats in Congress to make that happen.