Trump-Appointed Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden Abortion Rule for Employers in Two States

David Joseph
by Robert Schmad


A judge on Monday temporarily blocked a federal rule in two southern states that would have required employers to provide time off and accommodations for employees seeking abortions.

U.S. District Court Judge David Joseph, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued an order preventing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from enforcing a rule in Mississippi and Louisiana that would require employers to provide abortion accommodations though stopped short of issuing a broader national injunction, per court filings. The rule was scheduled to take effect on Tuesday and would have dictated that abortions be included under the definition of “pregnancy, childbirth or related medical considerations,” thereby requiring that employers with at least 15 employees provide time off to their workers for abortions and related recovery.

Joseph (pictured above) found that the EEOC exceeded its statutory authority in its implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, usurping congressional authority in the process, according to court filings. As a result of this finding, he ordered the agency to pause the implementation of its abortion rule in Louisiana and Mississippi while its legality is litigated in the courts.

EEOC officials used language in the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which passed with bipartisan support in 2022, to determine that employers had to provide abortion accommodation to their workers, the Associated Press reported. Republican lawmakers who supported the legislation were angered when they learned the bill would be used to bolster abortion access.

“The EEOC hijacked a bipartisan protection for expecting mothers and their babies, imposing a national abortion-accommodation mandate,” Laura Wolk Slavis, a lawyer representing Catholic groups opposed to the rule, said, according to the AP. The lawsuit was brought by four entities affiliated with the Catholic Church as well as the state attorneys general of Mississippi and Louisiana, per court filings.

National Women’s Entrepreneurship Director for Small Business Majority Rachel Shanklin says that the court’s ruling will make it “more difficult — at least temporarily — for women in the workplace to access abortion care,” according to the AP. “The court has left some pregnant workers who need abortion-related accommodations to fend for themselves,” Gaylynn Burroughs, vice president of Workplace Justice and Education at the National Women’s Law Center said.

While the rule does require employers to give time off to workers seeking abortions, it doesn’t require that time off to be paid nor does it force employers to pay for expenses related to the abortion.

The EEOC directed the Daily Caller News Foundation to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for comment on the lawsuit. The DOJ did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Robert Schmad is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. 






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