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California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder said employers should be able to ask women if and when they plan to get pregnant

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  • Republican Larry Elder defended an employer's right to ask about pregnancy in a 2002 book.

  • Elder, who is running for governor of California, doubled down on his beliefs Wednesday.

  • "Government should not be intruding into the relationship between employer and employee," he said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, a Republican frontrunner in California's governor race, doubled down on past comments he made defending employers asking women if and when they plan to get pregnant.

Elder, who is running in the recall election to unseat Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, expressed his views on the subject in the 2002 book "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests that Divide America," Media Matters reported last week.

In the book, Elder wrote: "Are there legitimate business reasons for a venture capitalist to ask a female entrepreneur whether and when she intends to have children? Hell, yes."

Read more: LA County's $70 billion pension fund delays its return to the office as the Delta variant upends employers' plans

He compared it to a sports team forbidding its players from taking part in "hazardous conduct not related to their sport."

"Call it protecting an investment," he added.

He also suggested women who have kids aren't "committed" to work, Media Matters reported.

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When asked about the comments by the Associated Press on Wednesday, Elder stood by his past statements, responding, "government should not be intruding into the relationship between employer and employee."

It is illegal under state and federal laws for an employer in the US to discriminate based on pregnancy. Asking about pregnancy is not illegal, though it could be seen as evidence if discrimination later occurs.

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, another leading GOP candidate in the recall election, ripped into his opponent over the comments.

Faulconer retweeted Elder's remarks, adding: "Every undecided voter - pay attention. These are not California values. These are not Republican, Democrat, or independent values. Larry Elder is doubling down on his attacks on working women and California families."

-Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) August 18, 2021

 

There are 46 candidates in California's 2021 recall election, which takes place on September 14. Other well-known GOP candidates include retired gold-medal Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and businessman John Cox.

Polls show Elder in the lead if Californians do decide to recall Newsom. A recent poll conducted by the University of California, Berkeley found voters are nearly evenly split, with 50% who oppose recalling Newsom and 47% in support, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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