GOP lawmaker faces scrutiny for delaying bipartisan bill that would allow bathroom breaks for pregnant women

GOP lawmaker faces scrutiny for delaying bipartisan bill that would allow bathroom breaks for pregnant women
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, via Gage Skidmore.
The Right Wing

A Republican lawmaker is facing scrutiny for his efforts to stall a proposed bipartisan piece of legislation that would allow employment protections for pregnant workers.

As Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) made efforts to advance the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is pushing to stall the bill. According to Jezebel, the Republican lawmaker's arguments are based on a misconstrued understanding of the bill.

Per the news outlet, the lawmaker believes "the bill — which would ensure pregnant workers receive accommodations like water bottles, stools, and bathroom breaks — is akin to government-funded 'abortions on demand.'”

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Although Tillis' assumption is off-base, that hasn't deterred his efforts to thwart the bill. In fact, he even explained his argument as he expressed concern about the bill from a personal perspective.

“As the husband of a wife who had two children while she was working and the grandfather of two grandchildren with a daughter who’s a nurse, I absolutely want to make sure those sort of reasonable accommodations are accounted for,” Tillis said.

He added, “However, in its current form, this legislation before us would give federal bureaucrats at the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] authority to mandate that employers nationwide provide accommodations such as leave to obtain abortions on demand, under the guise of pregnancy-related conditions.”

Despite Tillis' argument, Murray explained that the bill is an effort to ensure that no pregnant woman is forced “to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy.”

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According to the language in the bill, companies would be required to offer “reasonable accommodations to the known limitations” extending from “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”

Speaking from the Senate floor, Murray expressed concern about working conditions for pregnant women.

“It is outrageous that pregnant women in our country have been pushed out of their jobs by their employers because they asked for an additional bathroom break, because their doctors say they need to avoid heavy lifting, or because their employer can’t be bothered to provide a stool so they can sit down,” Murray said. She also noted that PWFA is “a fundamentally bipartisan bill.”

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