WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed critical legislation to protect pregnant people in the workplace. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant people and would help ensure workers don’t face discrimination or retaliation based on their pregnancy-related needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the workplace more dangerous for pregnant people, but low-wage workers — who due to systemic barriers and discrimination are disproportionately likely to be Black, Latino, or have immigrated into the country — have always faced unfair, impossible choices between protecting their health during pregnancy and continuing to work at a time their family needs income the most. The Senate must immediately pass this critical legislation to ensure pregnant workers receive the accommodations they need to keep doing their jobs.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“No one should ever have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and economic security. But this country has long-ignored the needs of pregnant people in low-wage professions. Often, pregnant workers only need a chair, a bathroom break, or standard personal protective equipment to maintain a healthy pregnancy and protect themselves from COVID-19. It is no coincidence that the workers denied these simple accommodations are likely to be Black, Latino, or from immigrant communities — this lack of protections is part of the structural racism that has created a Black maternal mortality crisis in this country. There is no excuse — the Senate must pass this critical legislation immediately.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America joined over 250 partners in expressing support for this critical legislation.
According to the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women. These outcomes are the result of medical provider bias, structural racism, and economic inequality — leading to limited access to health care and a heightened risk of preventable health complications.
Now is the time for Congress to stand with pregnant workers and move this critical legislation into law.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.