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State Regulation of Reproduction The Legal Framework of Pregnancy
Geduldig v. Aiello (1974) • Disability plan of California state employees did not cover pregnancy or childbirth expenses • Supreme Court found that the plan did NOT violate the 14th A equal protection clause
GE v. Gilbert (1976) • GE’s plan did NOT cover temporary disability due to pregnancy • Women employees filed a class action suit, charging sex discrimination under Title VII. • Supreme Court: pregnancy-related disability was an “additional risk unique to women,” an “extra” or “special” problem that only women encounter
Nashville Gas v. Satty (1977) • Nashville Gas required pregnant employees to take unpaid leave and took away their seniority benefits • S Court found that loss of seniority violated Title VII but leave policy did NOT— despite the fact that men were NEVER REQUIRED to take unpaid leave
In these cases, the Supreme Court drew the salient legal distinction between pregnant persons and non-pregnant persons—not between women and men
PDA • premised on an equality standard • meant that “male as well as female employees are protected against discrimination” • first case was “reverse discrimination” in which male employee sued to gain hospital coverage for his pregnant wife