NWLC Responds to Legal Suit by 17 Republican State Attorneys General Against the EEOC Over its Enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

(Washington, D.C.) Yesterday, 17 Republican state attorneys general sued the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to block its final rule to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The EEOC’s rule recognizes that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act protects the right of workers to receive reasonable workplace accommodations that address the wide range of health care needs they may experience related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including abortion.  As a result, these state attorneys general seek to block the full scope of the EEOC’s protections for pregnant workers and further undermine the health and economic security of women by leaving workers who need pregnancy-related accommodations, including time off for abortion care, at risk of losing their jobs.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Chief Program Officer at the National Women’s Law Center:

“Yesterday’s lawsuit is yet another attack on the right of pregnant people to control their own bodies and lives. This latest attempt to block the protections guaranteed by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act once again makes clear that extremists are willing to sacrifice the health and economic security of pregnant workers and their families to advance their extreme anti-abortion agenda.

“There is no bottom when it comes to how far anti-abortion extremists will go. Even though the public has made clear time and again that they oppose draconian abortion bans, these anti-democracy, anti-abortion politicians continue their reckless, frightening, and unmoored efforts to attack pregnant women. Pregnant workers have a federal right to accommodations. Period. These anti-abortion Attorneys General —unhappy with democracy functioning as it should—aim not only to take away accommodations when a pregnant worker needs an abortion, but eliminate the entire rule implementing the law, which seeks to ensure that no pregnant worker has to choose between their health and their job.

“This challenge to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act comes at a time when pregnant people are increasingly at risk. Just this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments to determine whether states can ignore federal law and deny pregnant people emergency abortion care. These extremists want to deny abortion care in their states even if that means forcing pregnant people to lose an organ or become septic. And deny them the ability to get leave from work in order to cross state lines to get the care they need. Cruelty—and lawless authoritarianism—is the point here.

“In the face of these attacks, we remain clear that abortion care is health care. The National Women’s Law Center has persistently fought to ensure that people who seek abortion care are protected from discrimination in the workplace, in education, and in healthcare. We led the decade-long fight to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act—and we will continue fighting for the rights of all pregnant workers to get the accommodations they need, including accommodations for abortion care.”