On May 23, 2024, NWLC, the ACLU, and nineteen additional organizations dedicated to workers’ rights and gender justice—including labor unions and legal advocacy organizations—filed an amicus brief defending regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) that make clear that employers have to reasonably accommodate employees for their pregnancy-related needs, including abortion care.

In this case, a group of states led by Tennessee sued the EEOC, attacking the PWFA’s requirement that employers reasonably accommodate employees who need abortion care and asking the court to eliminate the EEOC rule in its entirety.

Congress enacted the PWFA to fill gaps in federal law protecting pregnant workers and provide an explicit right to reasonable accommodations for workers affected by “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions,” a term taken directly from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). The EEOC’s regulations, which carry out Congress’s intent in passing the PWFA, recognize that abortion—which has long been covered under the PDA—is covered under the PWFA. The law therefore requires employers to provide reasonable abortion-related accommodations to workers who need them.

Our brief shows how abortion is part of the full spectrum of pregnancy-related care and argues that if the court stopped implementation of the EEOC’s regulations, it would frustrate Congress’s intent in enacting the PWFA and hurt workers. It would compound existing problems pregnant employees already have to deal with—including diminished access to abortion caused by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 383 U.S. 745 (2022) and the confusion and ignorance displayed by employers since the PWFA’s enactment when employees have asked for accommodations they’re entitled to under the law.