". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


New Biden Abortion Regulation Forces Employers to Become Part of the ‘Machinery of Death’

August 23, 2023

The Biden administration has issued federal regulations turning pro-life legislation into a guarantee of abortion-on-demand and forced every employer to become part of the “machinery of death,” a former Trump administration official has warned.

The Biden administration has issued two controversial federal rules that would further advance the interests of the abortion lobby. The latest rule concerns the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a law passed last year intended to guarantee pregnant women can receive reasonable on-the-job accommodations related to “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” The Biden administration rule would legally force businesses that employee 15 or more people to facilitate their employees’ abortions, such as furnishing them with abortion-related leave, or face a federal complaint.

“This is just a brazen attempt from this administration to force abortion even within a pro-life piece of legislation,” Roger Severino, vice president for Domestic Policy at The Heritage Foundation, told “Washington Watch” guest host and former Congressman Jody Hice on Monday. “Their creativity apparently knows no bounds when it comes to pushing abortion on the American people.”

The Biden administration’s proposed regulation accomplishes the Left’s political objectives by redefining the words of the law. The rule states that the bill’s “definition of ‘pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions’ includes current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential pregnancy, lactation (including breastfeeding and pumping), use of birth control, menstruation, infertility and fertility treatments, endometriosis, miscarriage, stillbirth, or having or choosing not to have an abortion, among other conditions.” (Emphasis added.) It adds that “nothing in the PWFA requires or forbids an employer to pay for health insurance benefits for an abortion.”

The regulation appears to violate the express intentions of the law’s authors, who assured senators the bill “could not” result in pro-abortion regulatory action. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) stated categorically last December 8: “I want to say for the record, however, that under the act, under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the EEOC, could not — could not — issue any regulation that requires abortion leave, nor does the act permit the EEOC to require employers to provide abortions in violation of state law.”

During the floor debate, Casey said the bill intended to help pregnant young women whose employer denied their requests for reasonable accommodations necessary to avoid having another miscarriage, such as UPS worker Peggy Young who asked for the right to limit how much she lifted. “This legislation would provide commonsense protections for pregnant workers, like extra bathroom breaks or a stool for workers who stand, so they can continue working while not putting extra strain on their pregnancies,” said Casey, the son of renowned pro-life Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, after the bill’s passage.

That language turns the bill’s intent upside-down and enables the federal government to make a constitutional argument in favor of abortion, Severino assessed. “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was a bill designed to protect pregnant workers. What is the opposite of pregnancy? Abortion. Yet this administration, through the EEOC’s proposed regulation, is saying that abortion is going to be a protected, enshrined right that workers will have a right to an accommodation even in pro-life states,” Severino told Hice on Monday. Regulations are “going to recruit employers as part of this machinery of death.” And, he predicted, administration lawyers will cite the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which allows federal law to supersede state laws and local ordinances, “to push aside all the pro-life state laws that prohibit cooperation and assisting in abortion.”

“The Biden administration is taking something that is meant to protect life, the giving of life,” pregnancy, “and flipping it and saying, no, we’re going to make it easier for them to extinguish that life,” said Severino. “Employers around the country are going to be forced to assist in abortions in violation of state law.”

“The new law is pro-life, certainly, but in the most holistic way possible: it exists to help every pregnant woman thrive in both her calling as a mother and her calling as a worker. But now, at the behest of the abortion industry, the Biden administration is trying to hitch an abortion mandate to this profoundly pro-woman, pro-life legislation,” agreed Julie Marie Blake, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.

Furthermore, the regulation would trample the conscience rights of employers who oppose abortion-on-demand, critics state. “[T]he rules contain no meaningful religious exemption, meaning that the First Amendment rights of employers are at risk,” said the Colorado Catholic Conference. “Faith-based organizations would be compelled to facilitate abortions in contradiction of their well-founded beliefs.”

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade last June, the Biden administration has increasingly turned to executive orders, regulations, and federal fiats to promote abortion. Biden compelled taxpayers to underwrite abortion-related travel for women in the U.S. armed services, in a memo signed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last October. The administration has paid for the abortions of underage illegal immigrants.

“This is massive resistance that we haven’t seen since the civil rights era, when certain recalcitrant states were resisting the integration of American life based on race,” said Severino, who led the Office of Civil Rights department at HHS under President Donald Trump. “Now we’re seeing this based on the question of abortion.”

The Biden administration has also facilitated do-it-yourself chemical abortions by eliminating the need for an in-person visit, allowing pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone, and issuing a hotly contested legal opinion that pharmacies may mail or ship abortion pills to pro-life states with impunity.

“This administration is playing fast and loose trying to make the abortion pill something like an over-the-counter vitamin,” said Severino. He also called the Trump-appointed U.S. District judge who ruled against the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Austin, “a hero.”

“The Biden administration won’t be happy until abortion pervades every aspect of our lives, as evidenced by their attempt to sneak abortion — the ending of a new human life — into a program that is about the exact opposite: supporting the growth of a new human life,” said Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins in a statement emailed to The Washington Stand. “It doesn’t get much more backwards than that, but that’s exactly what we’ve seen time and again from this administration.”

Instead of “Build Back Better,” Hawkins said, Biden’s slogan appears to be “Build in Abortion Wherever.”

Those efforts include trying to shut down pro-life investigations into abortionists who violate state laws. The federal office Severino formerly led, the HHS Office for Civil Rights, issued a draft regulation stating that health privacy laws prohibit abortionists or insurance companies from turning over records to officials in states that limit abortion, such as whether an abortionist mailed mifepristone and misoprostol to states that do not allow chemical abortion. Turning over that information would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), under the new rule.

An anonymous administration official told journalists the Biden administration promoted the rule in April, because it feared pregnant women “may hesitate to interact with” abortionists, although no state has passed any law punishing women who seek or obtain abortions. The laws punish the abortionists who carry out the abortions. Additionally, “some [abortionists] get fearful when they receive a subpoena,” the official said. The order circumvented the legislative process and imposed some of the terms of a Democrat-sponsored bill, the so-called “Secure Access for Essential Reproductive (SAFER) Health” Act, which has never passed Congress.

Severino noted the public can offer comments on the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act regulation until October 10. A total of 14,257 comments have been received as of this writing, including 7,464 discussing abortion.

The Left’s tidal wave of federal regulations prove Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have a “laser-like focus on things like pushing abortion until birth, environmental fanaticism, [and] the LGBT agenda,” Hice concluded.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.