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Biden administration’s abortion-related rule challenged in litigation

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The attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop a new rule by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they say could impose a national abortion regime.

Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in Lake Charles on Monday that seeks to challenge a rule that would require employers to accommodate employees’ abortions under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

This bipartisan bill was intended to provide protections for pregnant women in the workplace, including “reasonable accomodations” related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The two Republican attorneys general are seeking an injunction to stop the rule, which goes in effect 60 days after it has been filed in the federal register. The rule is intended to implement the provisions of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act passed by Congress in 2022.

“This new action by the EEOC is another example of bureaucrats rewriting acts of Congress to their own liking, and it’s unconstitutional,” Murrill said in a news release. “We will continue to challenge this administration’s overreach and protect pregnant women.”

In the complaint, the two attorneys general say the new rule, which doesn’t require employers to pay travel costs for an abortion or an employee’s insurer to pay for an abortion, runs afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision and sent abortion policy back to the states.

The rule requires employers in states that have largely outlawed abortion such as Louisiana and Mississippi to accommodate abortions or else face federal lawsuits for monetary damages and injunctive relief as any violation of EEOC rules can draw.

“The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was a bipartisan effort to help women in the workplace while they are pregnant and following childbirth,” Fitch said in a news release. “But the Biden administration is threatening to derail commonsense measures, like adequate seating, bathroom and water breaks, and relaxed dress codes, by reading into the law required accommodations for elective abortion, even where that overrides the will of the people or the religious liberty of the employer.

“This administration will stop at nothing to undo the Dobbs decision, which gave the people back their power over abortion policymaking and to impose a national abortion regime.”

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