The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), an amendment to the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last year, was a bipartisan measure designed to promote the family by making the workplace more accommodating for pregnant employees. The legislation requires employers to furnish reasonable arrangements for female workers carrying children. The law is similar to how the Americans with Disabilities Act works. However, with the Biden administration involved, the legislation, which is intended to encourage mothers to keep their babies, might end up promoting abortion instead.
The accommodations employers are required to provide under the PWFA are intended to make it easier for pregnant women to continue participating in the workplace. Lawmakers from both parties were on board with passing the measure.
The law will give pregnant workers the right to, for instance, take more frequent bathroom breaks or carry water with them at their job site. The measure seems like a common-sense, pro-family measure, one that both sides of the partisan divide can support as a way to make life a little easier for pregnant workers and, in so doing, perhaps discourage some from considering abortion as an option. That is until the Biden administration got involved.
When the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released proposed rules implementing the PWFA, it included abortion as one of the “related medical conditions” covered by the act. If the proposal gets finalized and abortion becomes subject to the PWFA, most employers will have to give their workers leave to obtain an abortion or abortion-related services.
Indeed, while there has been a great deal of attention paid to the Biden administration’s abortion tourism policy for the military — and Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s fight against it — it appears Washington bureaucrats are now poised to push something similar on the entire American workforce, effectively by executive fiat.
So, in essence, the Biden White House is trying to sneak in a provision that would essentially require employers to provide accommodations for women seeking to have abortions – the exact opposite of what the measure was intended to accomplish. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) had previously tried to insert a one-paragraph amendment that would exempt religious entities from any PWFA provision that would violate their religious beliefs. However, 53 senators voted the measure down last December. If this rule is approved, religious organizations will be compelled to support abortion.
The unilateral move to promote abortion through the PWFA reveals even further how adamantly this administration wishes to encourage as many mothers as possible to terminate their pregnancies. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year Democrats have been scrambling to figure out how to preserve as many abortions as possible.
Blue states have passed laws making it even easier for women to obtain abortions. Lawmakers in Congress and in state legislatures have targeted crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations that provide alternatives to abortion for mothers with unexpected pregnancies. Indeed, some of the proposed measures against these groups have been quite aggressive.
To put it simply, Democrats are trying to make sure that fewer mothers opt to keep their children, which makes it slightly surprising that some of them even agreed to pass the PWFA in the first place. Of course, if they knew the Biden administration was going to try to sneak in a rule requiring employers to make accommodations for employees seeking abortions, it might explain why they were willing to go along with it. Republicans in Congress will have to act swiftly to remove this rule if they don’t want the Democrats’ scheme to work.