Why aren’t ‘pro-life’ groups backing legal protection for pregnant women?

Why aren’t ‘pro-life’ groups backing legal protection for pregnant women? July 17, 2012

Sheila Bapat describes the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

Amber Reeves, a pregnant truck driver … was fired after requesting accommodations in her work duties. Reeves was instructed by her obstetrician not to lift more than 20 pounds, and her job required her to lift up to 75 pounds. She couldn’t perform her regular duties, so her employer terminated her. Her employer only made modifications like this for people who are injured on the job.

Unglamorous and unprotected by the law, pregnant women in labor-intensive jobs often find themselves in this kind of predicament. This is why the National Women’s Law Center and about 100 other organizations are championing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a bill that could prevent employers from firing women who are unable to perform all the functions of their job due to pregnancy or who seek some workplace accommodations due to pregnancy.

… There are laws that protect pregnant women from discrimination, but they have not been interpreted to protect women seeking adjustments to their work responsibilities. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was passed over 30 years ago and prevents discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.” But the PDA is interpreted to only protect women who are pregnant but not hindered in job performance due to pregnancy or women who cannot work at all and need leave.

It leaves pregnant women — women who need and can continue to work but need some adjustments made to their workload — in purgatory.

Similarly the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also does not serve as a cause of action for pregnant women who are seeking adjustments accommodations at work, as pregnancy is not deemed a disability under the ADA. …

If we assume the best and we take the claims of anti-abortion groups at face value, then we ought to expect those groups to support this legislation. It’s about protecting pregnant women, after all. If pregnancy can mean losing your job, and you need that job, and your kids need the income from that job, well then the status quo without this legislation seems to create economic incentives for terminating a pregnancy. And if we assume the best and we take the claims of anti-abortion groups at face value, we would expect those groups to want to change that.

I wanted to quote from some of those groups, to share their endorsements of this effort as a sign of the bill’s bipartisan support. But I haven’t found any of those statements yet.

I’ve found several women’s groups supporting this legislation. And labor groups. And some liberal church groups. But so far I haven’t found any discussion of this bill among abortion opponents.

Maybe I’m just not looking in the right place, or not looking hard enough. Because I’m sure those groups must be supporting this bill — otherwise it might mean that we can’t assume the best about them or take their claims at face value, and I’d hate to have to think such a thing.

(If you find any such statements of support for this legislation by anti-abortion groups, please post a link in comments below.)

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