Skip to main content

Federal Court Protects Catholic Ministries from Being Forced to Support Employee Abortions

Share This article

A federal court in Louisiana has ruled to protect the rights of a coalition of Catholic ministries from being forced to support employee's abortions.

Becket Law, a non-profit legal group, represented the United States of Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), an organization of Catholic bishops who are the senior religious leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States.

USCCB challenged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on enforcing its abortion mandate for over 130 million Americans. 

Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in 2022 to protect expectant mothers in the workforce and their unborn babies. The law makes it illegal for employers to deny accommodations like extra restroom breaks and modified work schedules to women who have physical limitations brought on by pregnancy or childbirth. 

Throughout the legislative process, the USCCB supported the PWFA's passage because of the law's admirable and uncontroversial purpose. The pregnancy law itself does not mention abortion.

But the Biden Administration, which was in charge of enforcing the law, also mandated that employers nationwide must accommodate abortions, including by knowingly allowing their employees to take paid leave to have an abortion and by removing life-affirming workplace policies discouraging abortion. 

"The EEOC twisted a law protecting expecting mothers and their babies and co-opted the workplaces of over 130 million Americans to support abortion," said Laura Wolk Slavis, counsel at Becket. "That is an abuse of power—no one should have to choose between their conscience and protecting pregnant women."

Becket filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of the Catholic conference, and on Tuesday the court granted an injunction to temporarily stop the EEOC from imposing its abortion mandate "until final judgment is entered" in the case, the ruling said. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

"'Abortion' is a term that is readily understood by everyone," District Judge David Joseph said in the court ruling. "If Congress had intended to mandate that employers accommodate elective abortions under the PWFA, it would have spoken clearly when enacting the statute, particularly given the enormous social, religious, and political importance of the abortion issue in our nation."

The court noted the legislative record "unambiguously confirms that Congress specifically did not intend for the PWFA to require employers to accommodate abortion." 

The USCCB praised the decision on Tuesday. 

"We have said from the start that abortion has no place in the pro-life, pro-woman Pregnant Workers Fairness Act," spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi told Catholic News Agency.

"We're grateful the court has agreed and look forward to full and permanent respect for our rights and this law's noble purpose," she added. 

Meanwhile, Louisiana and Mississippi have filed a parallel lawsuit before the same court, and employers in those states were also protected by the ruling. The federal government has 60 days to appeal the decision.

"Banning employers nationwide from affirming life is unacceptable and unlawful," said Wolk Slavis. "This ruling is an important step in ensuring that American workplaces can be free to continue serving their communities consistent with their beliefs."

slider img 2

Share This article

About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.