A Victory for Both Sides in the Abortion Wars

In a big win for pregnant workers, the Supreme Court has created a new standard for evaluating pregnancy discrimination this week. The Court heard a case brought by Peggy Young, a former UPS driver who claimed that UPS discriminated against her by refusing to grant her paid leave during her pregnancy. The company reportedly let other workers who needed it take paid leave, but not Young. A lower court ruled against Young, but Politico reports that the Supreme Court decided that a company cannot refuse accommodations to pregnant women that it grants to other employees. Young hasn’t won her case yet, but she’ll now be able to re-argue it under the Court’s new, more expansive, interpretation of pregnancy discrimination law.

That new interpretation will make it easier for employees of other companies to bring pregnancy discrimination suits. A more pregnancy-friendly workplace would certainly be a welcome development, but the story beneath the story here is the way pro-life and pro-choice groups were able to make common cause to support Young. Groups on both sides of the issue even held a joint press conference to advocate for her cause.

When it comes to abortion itself, pro-life and pro-choice groups are not going to reach any kind of detente anytime soon—neither side’s principles allows room for compromise. That’s been apparent in the way that the abortion debate has recently complicated first an anti-human trafficking bill and then the proposed ‘doc fix’ for Medicaid reimbursements. But when it comes to making society more friendly to and supportive of pregnant women, both sides can apparently come together to support important changes.

That’s not a cure-all for the abortion wars, but it’s a welcome thing in its own right—and a good reminder that political opponents can occasionally find common ground.

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