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Columbia’s city council approves employment protections

Columbia city leaders unanimously approved new employment protections for people due to childbirth Monday.

The changes to city ordinances would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against someone due to childbirth, family status, pregnancy or medical complications due to childbirth.

The city’s human rights commission requested some of the changes a year ago, but one pro-life advocate came to speak against it.

Bonnie Lee with Team Play said that it would protect people that promote abortions, and make it harder for people of faith in employment positions to make decisions that might go against those beliefs.

The head of the commission said the new changes strengthen the local laws that protect people that get pregnant and have children while working.

People who spoke in favor of the changes said it might encourage women to get pregnant rather than get an abortion knowing there was legal protection.

The changes bring the local laws into compliance with the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Lee said this might have a chilling effect on religious people’s first amendment rights.

Councilman Karl Skala said the law works toward their mission of equity in their city.

(Editor’s note, 11/7, 1:13 a.m.: An earlier version of the story misstated that Lee did not support the protections for women that receive abortions. The story has been changed to accurately reflect her statement regarding protections for people that promote abortions.)

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