Home Helping pregnant workers just got vexed

Helping pregnant workers just got vexed

Helping pregnant workers just got vexed



The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says a law Congress passed last year to require employers to accommodate the needs of pregnant workers should include those “having or choosing not to have an abortion.”

Republicans who backed the law — the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — aren’t happy about the agency’s proposed regulations, and they have some legislative history to back up their concerns, reports POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek.

“These regulations completely disregard legislative intent and attempt to rewrite the law by regulation,” Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement. “The decision to disregard the legislative process to inject a political abortion agenda is illegal and deeply concerning.”

What’s in the rules? The EEOC doesn’t specify what kind of accommodations an employer would need to provide a worker who decides to get an abortion, or one who decides not to.

But it offers some broad examples of accommodations for:

– trouble standing for long periods

– difficulty lifting heavy objects

– the need to take time off for medical appointments

– a desire to limit exposure to secondhand smoke

The proposed rule does say that it would not require employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion.

Even so: Last year, while supporters were racing to shore up Republican support, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Bob Casey (D-Pa.), sought to reassure abortion opponents that it would not require employers to provide time off for workers to get abortions.

“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 abortion leave in violation of state law,” Casey said during the Senate floor debate.

What’s next? The EEOC is taking public comment on its proposal and it could still change. The agency’s commissioners will have to vote to finalize it.


This is where we explore the ideas and innovators shaping health care.

Walking just 4,000 steps a day was associated with a lower risk of death in a recent analysis — far fewer than the oft-repeated recommendation that people need to hit 10,000 steps each day. Still, more is better. Each additional 1,000 steps per day was associated with a 15 percent lower risk.

Share any thoughts, news, tips and feedback with Carmen Paun at [email protected], Daniel Payne at [email protected], Evan Peng at [email protected] or Erin Schumaker at [email protected].

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Today on our Pulse Check podcast, host Megan Messerly talks with David Lim about the drop in reporting of medical device shortages to the Food and Drug Administration after mandatory disclosure requirements — tied to the Covid-19 public health emergency — expired in May.


People who have had gender-affirming mastectomies — “top surgery” — report low rates of regret and high rates of satisfaction, a new study out of the University of Michigan found.

The researchers surveyed patients who had received gender-affirming mastectomies at Michigan’s gender-affirming surgical unit between two and 23.6 years before the survey.

Among the 139 respondents, who were a median of 3.6 years out from their surgery, the median satisfaction score was 5 on a 5-point scale, while the median decisional regret score was 0 on a 100-point scale.

Why it matters: Mastectomy, or breast removal, is the most common gender-affirming surgical procedure in the U.S. and is performed on transgender or other gender nonconforming people assigned female at birth.

As debates about gender-affirming care rage, a common concern among opponents and those advocating for restrictions on such care is the possibility or even prevalence of regret among people who receive gender-affirming care, especially surgery.

Past research has found low rates of regret, though many of the studies had small sample sizes, used proxy measures or were conducted very soon post-operation.

This study, published in JAMA Surgery, provides a longer-term confirmation of those findings.


New electronic health-record messaging data from a study in JAMA Network Open underscores the digital transformation in health care that the pandemic propelled.

The messaging rate to mental health providers went from about 250 per 1,000 patients in February 2020, before Covid kept people away from their doctors’ offices, to more than 1,500 per 1,000 patients by the end of 2021.

And messaging rates were significantly higher in the later months of the pandemic than at the outset.

“Increased messaging burden in this study reflects the sustained increase in patient need,” the researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis wrote.

What did patients want to know? Slightly more than half of the questions were about medication, and 40 percent were general medical questions.

Who sent them? Before the pandemic, men were more likely than women to send messages, but after it began, women were more likely to send messages. White patients were more likely to send messages than patients of other races.