According to most news reports about the U.S. Supreme action involving Peggy Young and her case against the United Parcel Service -- such as the CBS News clip atop this post -- this was a pretty standard battle focusing on "women's reproductive rights."
Most of these stories seemed to have been produced with a template. This was all business as usual, in other words. But was that the case at the court?
Listeners who tuned in the NPR report on the case heard the same oh-so-familiar storyline -- but with one brief reference to a twist in the plot.
Women's reproductive rights are once again before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. Only this time, pregnancy discrimination is the issue and pro-life and pro-choice groups are on the same side, opposed by business groups.
In other words, the big news here is that very unusual coalition created by this case. What's that all about? Who is involved on the pro-life side of that equation and why?
Alas, NPR goes on to cover the basics in a pretty standard-procedures report and that's that. The truly unique news hook vanishes. Here's some background.
In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled that an employer that does not include pregnancy in its disability plan is not discriminating based on gender; it's just omitting coverage for one disability. Congress quickly amended the sex-discrimination law to ban discrimination based on pregnancy. But since then, most appeals courts have interpreted the law narrowly. Wednesday's case is a test of what is now required under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The case was brought by Peggy Young, then of Annapolis, Md., who had been driving a United Parcel Service delivery truck for four years when she became pregnant. UPS requested that she contact the company nurse, and the nurse asked for a doctor's note.
Young explained to her doctor that her job involved driving the early morning shift at the airport, and that almost all of her pickups involved envelopes and small packages. She says the doctor thought the request for a note was "odd," but wrote one recommending that Young not lift more than 20 pounds.
"When I took the note to the nurse, she basically said, 'Well, we don't give alternative work or light duty to off-work incidents.' I'm like, 'I'm pregnant, there's not an incident here, and I can do my regular job.' They would not allow me to," says Young.
She lost her job and UPS health insurance for nine months.
Young’s supporters say the UPS policy change comes as Young’s case has drawn increasing support from all across the political spectrum, including conservative groups opposed to abortion, like Americans United for Life, business groups, women’s groups, workers’ rights advocates and the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.
“This has been a public relations nightmare for UPS,” said Tom Spiggle, an employment attorney and author of a book on pregnancy discrimination, “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired!”
Well, there are pro-life groups that are not "conservative," and the modern "ACLU" only "leans" to the left? But never mind. This additional information was helpful.
It would have been nice, however, to have had more information -- since this consistent-life values vs. big business thing was the truly unique angle in this story. Who else was involved? Well, to find that kind of information out you needed to head over to alternative news and wire services, such as -- wait for it -- Baptist Press.
Yes, Baptist wires -- conservative and progressive -- had kind of in-depth info.
The Southern Baptist Convention's public policy entity has joined nearly two dozen other pro-life organizations in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief filed Sept. 11 that calls for the justices to uphold employment safeguards in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). In the 1978 law, Congress' purpose included the protection of women from economic constraint to have abortions, according to the brief. ...
ERLC President Russell D. Moore said in a statement for Baptist Press about the brief, "Being pro-life means standing both with unborn children and with their mothers. We must speak for pregnant women who should not have to decide between loving their babies, caring for their health and making a living."
Among pro-life organizations joining the ERLC on the brief were the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Bethany Christian Services, Christian Legal Society, Concerned Women for America, Democrats for Life of America, Feminists for Nonviolent Choices, Heartbeat International, March for Life Education and Defense Fund, National Association of Evangelicals, Students for Life of America and Susan B. Anthony List. Representing the organizations on the brief were lawyers from Americans United for Life, the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota and Judicial Education Project.
Worth mentioning? Take a look at this New York Times report. Anything missing here?