17 states challenge federal rules entitling workers to accommodations for abortion


Republican attorneys general from 17 states have filed a lawsuit challenging new federal rules that allow workers to take time off and receive other accommodations for abortions. They argue that these rules are an illegal interpretation of a federal law passed in 2022.

Led by Tennessee and Arkansas, the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Arkansas. It comes after finalized federal regulations were published on April 15, providing guidance for employers and workers on how to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This act allows workers to request time off to get an abortion and recover from the procedure.

The rules, adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on a 3-2 vote along party lines, are set to take effect on June 18. However, the Republican attorneys general claim that these regulations go beyond what was intended in the 2022 law and infringe upon states’ rights.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin stated, “This is yet another attempt by the Biden administration to force through administrative fiat what it cannot get passed through Congress.” He expressed concern that business owners could face federal lawsuits if they don’t accommodate employees’ requests for abortions, even if such procedures are illegal under state law.

The lawsuit has sparked controversy, with advocacy groups like A Better Balance defending the protections provided by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. They argue that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack on women’s health and reproductive rights.

The EEOC clarified that the new law does not require employers or employer-sponsored health plans to cover the costs of abortions. Instead, the most common accommodation requested under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is time off for medical appointments or recovery, which may or may not be paid.

The other states joining the lawsuit are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

This legal battle highlights the ongoing debate over abortion rights in the United States and the balance between federal and state authority in regulating workplace policies.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for both employers and employees across the country, particularly regarding reproductive health rights in the workplace.

Advocates for women’s rights are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to defend the protections afforded by the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

As the legal proceedings unfold, it remains to be seen how the courts will interpret the scope of the federal law and whether the new regulations will withstand legal challenges from the states involved.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enable Google Transliteration.(To type in English, press Ctrl+g)