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JUST IN: Federal Judge Halts Rule Mandating Employers to Accommodate Employee Abortions


A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the implementation of a regulation in two states that mandated employers to accommodate employees seeking elective abortions.

The judge supported plaintiffs’ claims that abortions do not qualify as “medical conditions” which employers are obligated to support.

Judge David Joseph of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a ruling on June 17, granting a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The judge determined that the EEOC had overstepped its authority in enforcing the rule.



The EEOC “exceeded its statutory authority” in issuing the rule and “unlawfully expropriated the authority of Congress and encroached upon the sovereignty of the States Plaintiffs,” wrote Judge Joseph.

The temporary pause, effective in Louisiana and Mississippi until a final decision is made, prevents the EEOC from starting any investigations into allegations that an employer did not accommodate an elective abortion that isn’t medically necessary for pregnancy-related conditions.

The injunction also prevents the EEOC from taking any action that would allow employees to pursue legal action against their employers for not accommodating elective abortions.



The EEOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the preliminary injunction.

The ruling stems from two combined lawsuits: one filed by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi, and the other by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic University, and two Catholic dioceses.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAWSUIT:

A legal dispute arose over a new rule issued by the EEOC in April, interpreting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to include abortion within the definition of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”

This decision by the EEOC prompted significant controversy, with numerous comments opposing the inclusion of abortion on moral and religious grounds, asserting it does not qualify as healthcare.

However, the EEOC also received support for its stance, arguing that abortion should be accommodated under the Act as a necessary healthcare procedure, regardless of an employer’s religious beliefs.

Central to the debate was whether employers should be required to accommodate requests related to abortion under the Act.


The EEOC clarified that such accommodations would not extend to covering travel expenses but would allow employees time off for the procedure and recovery, aligning its decision with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy-related conditions.

In response to the EEOC’s rule, lawsuits were filed by Louisiana and Mississippi’s attorneys general, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other groups, seeking to block its implementation.


They argued that including abortion in the Act’s protections was an overreach and contradicted legislative intent. A federal judge subsequently issued an injunction halting the rule’s enforcement, pending further legal proceedings, which was met with approval from the plaintiffs who viewed it as a necessary defense against federal overreach.

Separately, a coalition of Republican-led states, including Arkansas and Tennessee, also challenged the rule in court but faced setbacks when a judge ruled they lacked standing to bring the case to a halt nationwide.


Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin expressed disappointment with the decision but indicated determination to pursue further legal avenues in the ongoing dispute.

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