• The San Juan Daily Star

Bill filed to prohibit discrimination against pregnant athletes

By John McPhaul

Rep. Jorge “Georgie” Navarro Suárez, introduced a bill on Tuesday to prohibit discrimination due to pregnancy in sport, after the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation on Monday did not allow the Sanjuaneras of the Women’s Superior Volleyball League (LVSN by its Spanish initials) to replace veteran opposite attacker Destinee Hooker, who is facing a high-risk pregnancy.

“The legislation specifically prohibits teams from including contractual clauses that penalize an athlete for being pregnant,” Navarro Suárez said in a written statement. “In addition, it provides for a team to substitute for the pregnant athlete when there is a recommendation from an obstetrician-gynecologist and such substitution favors the best care, health and physical integrity of the pregnant athlete.”

“It is inconceivable that a sports organization cannot recognize and show deference to a pregnant athlete,” the legislator added. “Women cannot change the reality that they are physiologically capable of bringing a child into the world. Therefore, we cannot penalize an athlete through her salary for getting pregnant.”

Navarro Suárez noted that the athlete who must be replaced will be paid 100% percent of the base of her salary and will receive medical benefits until the end of the season.

The request to replace Hooker, 34, as a reserve for the Sanjuaneras was denied by league director José “Picky” Servera, arguing that the reasons for the request for replacement are not contemplated in the regulation section.

Last Saturday, the first game of the LVSN final series was to be held. However, the federation declared the Caguas Criollas champions of the 2021 season after the Sanjuaneras did not appear.

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