Submit a Comment to Support Pregnant Workers!
The Biden administration needs to hear from you! Last year, the president signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) into law, requiring covered employers to accommodate workers by adapting their typical work environment or routine based on their physical or mental needs stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Unfortunately, because new regulations implementing the law continue the federal government’s longstanding practice of classifying abortion as a pregnancy-related medical condition, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are encouraging other right-wing extremists to submit comments opposing the PWFA.
Let’s ensure that the administration hears the resounding voices of the pro-choice catholic majority who support access to abortion care and the dignity of workers. Submit a short comment supporting pregnant workers before 11:59 PM ET on October 10 by using the sample language and following the simple instructions below.
Comment Submission Instructions
The comment period is open now and closes at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. To submit a comment, simply follow this link to regulations.gov. Then, you can copy and paste the sample language below into the “Comment” space provided. You can also feel free to expand with your own thoughts on the proposed rule and/or to attach a longer document if your comment exceeds the 5000-character allowance. We recommend submitting the following:
I join with Catholics for Choice in supporting the proposed rule implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), providing important clarity for workers and employers.
As a [Catholic/person of faith/Catholics for Choice advocate], I commend the EEOC’s naming of termination of pregnancy, including by abortion, as a “related medical condition” consistent with long-standing legislative, administrative, and judicial policy. Abortion is part of the life of the Catholic Church; in the U.S., one in four abortion patients identifies as Catholic and 63% of Catholics believe that this essential healthcare should be legal in all or most cases. As such, recognizing abortion as a statutorily protected medical condition related to pregnancy aligns with Catholic social justice values, especially the dignity of work and the rights of workers. Catholics have a moral obligation to provide the support necessary to ensure healthy pregnancies and the ability to raise children in safe and secure environments, including comprehensive healthcare, paid family leave, and reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
Similarly, Catholics are compelled to celebrate religious pluralism and diversity and to respect the primacy of individual conscience. Overly broad religious exemptions do just the opposite, allowing employers to impede employees’ freedom of and from religion by forcing their own beliefs on workers and discriminating against them for obtaining abortion care or denying them reasonable accommodations. No one should be penalized for or blocked from accessing quality, comprehensive healthcare simply due to their employer’s status as a “religious entity.” Our faith and our country’s Constitution demand that the EEOC protect freedom of conscience for all Americans, no matter what their beliefs may be, by preventing employers from discriminating against or interfering with the religious and moral decision-making workers.
Welcome to the exciting world of administrative advocacy! While many are well-acquainted with how a bill becomes law (thanks, Schoolhouse Rock!), the regulatory process can be difficult to decipher. Catholics for Choice is here to make participating in this process as quick and easy as communicating with your legislators – because it’s just as important to let the Biden-Harris administration know what pro-choice Catholics believe and why!
The Executive Branch not only incudes the president and their cabinet but also encompasses the various departments and agencies that make up our federal government, like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration – which are altogether referred to as “the administration.” These agencies engage in the rulemaking process to create regulations that govern their work and implementation of related laws under their jurisdiction. And, once a proposed rule has gone through this process, it has the force of law, allowing administrations to advance their policy priorities without the often prolonged and contentious process of involving Congress.
In this case, since Congress did pass the PWFA last year and President Biden signed it into law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has now issued a proposed rule surrounding its implementation. This regulation clarifies important definitions – like “reasonable accommodations” and “pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions” – and makes clear who and what is covered by the PWFA.
This is where you come in! The rulemaking process includes a public comment period for people all over the country to express their views on the proposal. In accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, they must consider all relevant comments submitted during this time and respond to them when issuing the final rule. This is your opportunity to support pregnant workers, share your pro-choice Catholic values, and ensure that no one has to choose between their job and their health or a healthy pregnancy.
Thank you so much for taking action on this important issue! Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions or to let us know that you submitted a comment!