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Biden Administration Tries to Sneak Abortion Mandate Into Bipartisan Law

No employer should have to facilitate access to abortion, particularly when doing so would violate the employer’s beliefs.
Julie Marie Blake
The White House

On August 7, the Biden administration gave every employer in America a big surprise, announcing an abortion mandate as part of a new women's rights law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which just went into effect at the end of June.

The act requires employers to accommodate pregnancies, childbirth, and other related conditions—but now the White House wants to make it about abortion. This just goes to show that the administration is determined to use its power to advance abortion and resist the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health OrganizationAnd it proves, once again, that it's willing to throw women under the bus to push its agenda.

But no employer should have to facilitate access to abortion, particularly when doing so would violate the employer's beliefs or the laws of the state in which they run their business.

Here's a bit of context: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was a moment of remarkable unity in Congress—a transformative, bipartisan bill that protects women and life. The law requires every employer in America to "reasonably accommodate" a worker's "pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions." It brought Democrats and Republicans together to stand up for women, and to guarantee that no woman is penalized professionally for choosing to bear a child. The act doesn't even mention abortion. It is a law about pregnancy, not about forcibly ending a pregnancy.

The new law is pro-life, certainly, but in the most holistic way possible: it exists to help every pregnant woman thrive in both her calling as a mother and her calling as a worker. But now, at the behest of the abortion industry, the Biden administration is trying to hitch an abortion mandate to this profoundly pro-woman, pro-life legislation, even though the law is simply not about abortion.

Speaking to Congress in December 2022, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who co-sponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, clarified this very question, saying, "Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the EEOC, could not—could not—issue any regulation that requires abortion leave, nor does the act permit the EEOC to require employers to provide abortions in violation of state law." He says on his website that "reasonable accommodations at work" include things "like a stool or a water bottle." Other accommodations include reduced manual labor after a C-section or time off for bed rest during pregnancy conditions like preeclampsia.

Now, however, the Biden administration wants to use this explicitly non-abortion-related law to impose a requirement for abortion "accommodations" on all employers across the nation.

Activists have been calling on the administration to read an abortion mandate on employers into this law. And it has done just that. By abusing the power of the EEOC, the administration is trying to require employers to "accommodate" an elective abortion.

The EEOC seeks to force employers to do precisely what Congress said the law would not require: give workers extra time off for abortions. Under a law meant to give pregnant women access to water bottles, stools, and adjusted work requirements after a C-section, the Biden administration wants to force employers to hand out extra days off to women who want to abort their unborn child.

And there are zero exemptions to the EEOC's proposed regulation: not for employers in states with pro-life laws, not for employers with deeply held pro-life convictions. In other words, the administration is so virulently pro-abortion that it is trying to use a federal agency to force employers to violate state laws and their own pro-life positions or religious beliefs—without exception.

The White House is trying to do all this by defining "pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions" to include "termination of pregnancy, including via miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion." Remember, though, that a cosponsor of the act explicitly said that its protections do not extend to abortions. Now a good, pro-life, pro-woman, bipartisan law is one stroke of a pen away from becoming a pro-abortion monstrosity, distorted beyond all recognition from the intentions of the congresspeople who voted for it.

A 60-day comment period began on Friday, giving Americans a chance to weigh in on the proposed mandate. All pro-life and religious Americans should make their voices heard, as should all Americans who respect the rule of law. Congress made it abundantly clear that this law was intended to protect pregnant women, and that it did not exist to compel employers to accommodate abortion. Now, the administration is trying to twist and undermine Congress' intentions. And that is a dangerous precedent which any freedom-loving American should oppose.

Julie Blake
Julie Marie Blake
Senior Counsel
Julie Marie Blake serves as senior counsel for regulatory litigation at Alliance Defending Freedom.