Republicans in the South Dakota legislature are really on a tear this year. There was that little brouhaha a week or so back where, after voters passed a strict new ethics law, the Legislature went into emergency session and overturned it, throwing out the independent ethics office the law created, too, because who needs ethics? For good measure, the repeal measure forbade voters from passing any more referenda on ethics as well, to avoid future emergencies. And now eight men on the state House’s Commerce and Energy Committee have voted to kill a bill that would have required employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, because businesses need to be free of burdensome regulations. But it’s not as if they’ve just left pregnant workers with no options at all, because that would be insensitive. Heck no! State Rep. Wayne H. Steinhauer had some very practical workplace advice for women who think they might need accommodations at work for their pregnancies:
It’s not prison. You can quit […] You’ve got a choice every day. You make a choice whether you come to work. And I’m here to tell you, if a person’s not allowing you to breastfeed at work or making appropriate accommodations at work, we can pass this law, but you don’t want to work for that guy. Get the heck out of there.
See? It’s empowerment, ladies! Don’t wait for the legislature to coddle you — go out and demand better treatment, and if you don’t get it, give up, because the legislature isn’t going to insult you by granting you accommodations you can darn well ask for yourselves. We sure hope Samantha Bee can score an interview with Rep. Steinhauer — he seems like the kind of forward-thinking gent who deserves a national spotlight.
The bill, HB 1120, would have required businesses with 50 or more employees to offer pregnant employees “reasonable accommodations,” which was apparently far too unreasonable for the eight mean lads on the committee. After all, how can any business be expected to thrive when the heavy hand of government demands pregnant women be allowed such luxuries as
more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, adjustment of seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, private nonbathroom space for breastfeeding, assistance with manual labor, modified work schedules, or any other reasonable request directly related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition.
You want that sort of la-di-daa pampering, you might as well just quit! Or as Rep Steinhauer explained, you could ask for it, and then if your boss won’t give it to you, quit to teach ’em a lesson. That’s how the free market works, ladies. If enough pregnant women quit and are replaced by non-pregnant women who’ll do the same work without bitching, then the market will have answered whether women’s womb-fruit are anything the business community needs to be concerned with. Which it isn’t.
According to the Dakota Free Press, the only two women on the committee, Lana Greenfield and Elizabeth May, both Republicans, were “excused” from the hearing, which seems awfully chivalrous of the boys who remained to kill the bill.
ThinkProgress notes that discrimination against pregnant workers is already banned by federal law, but there’s no federal requirement to actually accommodate pregnant women and their disgusting fecund bodies, because Freedom. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring accommodations, but South Dakota isn’t about to fall for any of that femi-communist interference in the free market anytime soon. Ladies want equality, they’ll just have to suck it up. You don’t see any men asking for extra bathroom breaks just because they’re going to become daddies, now do you?