(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Peace Corps rescinded its discriminatory policy that prevented pregnant Peace Corps volunteers from continuing their service. Previously the policy reflected a presumption that pregnant volunteers could not continue to serve in the Peace Corps; Peace Corps volunteers with other medical conditions were not subject to this presumption. The previous policy also required Peace Corps supervisors to determine whether a pregnant volunteer could continue to serve effectively after the birth of a child while no such inquiry was required to be made of expectant fathers. The National Women’s Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union had advocated for the Peace Corps to rescind this outdated and unfair policy.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, NWLC Vice-President and General Counsel:
“We are gratified that the Peace Corps has finally ended its antiquated and discriminatory policy that forced volunteers to end their service simply because they were pregnant. It’s long past time for all employers, including the Peace Corps, to reject any presumption that a woman is not capable of doing her job simply because she is pregnant. We urge the agency to make sure that this policy change is implemented effectively in the field so that pregnant volunteers are able to continue their work as long as there is no medical reason for them to end their service.”