Lobbyists Repeatedly Cited Bishops’ Praise of PWFA to Get Abortion Provision Through

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CV NEWS FEED // Pro-abortion groups repeatedly cited the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ endorsement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in order to push through the legislation’s controversial abortion provisions.

Pro-life groups issued numerous warnings to the USCCB not to praise the PWFA, asking them to rescind their December 2022 endorsement of the bill. The bishops’ endorsement came after the House approved the PWFA and as the legislation was being debated in the Senate.

CatholicVote told the USCCB and outlined in public reports that the PWFA’s implementation would inevitably force Catholic employers to accommodate abortions.

And as CatholicVote reported earlier this week, that is exactly what happened after the PWFA went into effect in July 2023:

The PWFA has the potential to fill a void in American employment law, requiring employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” for “limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions.” To its detriment, however, the original act left the interpretation of those terms to the Biden administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for regulating workplace discrimination laws. 

As lawmakers considered the PWFA, the nation’s leading pro-abortion organizations made use of the bishops’ endorsement of the bill, citing it as proof that the legislation was moderate and would not be offensive to religious voters.

The “long overdue legislation” would merely fix “a legal loophole to ensure that workplaces allow for basic, humane accommodations needed to have a healthy pregnancy while holding down a job,” the pro-abortion National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF) argued in a December 2022 statement.

Objectors “claim that they are standing in the way of the wellbeing of nearly three million pregnant workers in the name of religious liberty,” NPWF argued, “a claim made even more absurd by the fact that the bill in its current form is endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

The ACLU made similar use of the bishops’ backing just this week. The PWFA would simply ensure “that roughly 1 million additional workers nationwide now will enjoy the right to reasonable accommodation,” the abortion lobbyist stated in an October 11 press release:

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The PWFA’s passage marked the culmination of a decade of advocacy by the ACLU and its coalition partners and was enacted with broad bipartisan support, including from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Once the EEOC openly stated its intention to use the PWFA to enforce an abortion mandate on employers in July, the bishops appeared to recognize the mistake they had made in uncritically supporting the bill. The USCCB quickly became a leader in calling for public comments objecting to the attack on religious freedom.

As CatholicVote reported October 11:

Public comments closed this week on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) regulation establishing a national mandate on employers to accommodate workers’ abortions under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). 

During the 30-day comment period, readers submitted 27,230 comments through CatholicVote’s action center. Unconfirmed sources inside the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) state that another 20,800 comments objecting to the rule were submitted through their efforts.

The EEOC reported receiving 63,330 comments in total, meaning that Catholics and their allies provided over 75% of all feedback. 

CatholicVote Vice President Joshua Mercer said the battle is far from over, and his organization has no intention of attacking the integrity of the bishops’ pro-life efforts to defend unborn life and religious freedom.

“But I do hope the bishops are reviewing this entire episode and recognizing that that’s kind of the whole point,” Mercer said:

We’re supposed to be in this together, and when organizations like CatholicVote reach out to the USCCB to offer our expertise and our research as a Catholic organization concerned with the same issues the bishops care about, they shouldn’t be afraid to listen. Hear us out. If we work together, we might have a much better chance of winning more victories for Catholics in this country.

In fact, this is exactly why CatholicVote exists. Lay entities have important insights to offer to the bishops that we hope can help avoid these types of mistakes.

The post Lobbyists Repeatedly Cited Bishops’ Praise of PWFA to Get Abortion Provision Through appeared first on CatholicVote org.

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