No one should be denied opportunity, dignity, happiness or respect because of where they live or work or how much money they make. But because of our country’s punitive and inadequate policies, that is precisely what happens every day to people deciding if and when to parent. And that’s the subject of a new video and explainer document from the National Partnership for Women & Families. Check it out below:
For many women, the decision to become a parent or grow your family — or not — is made even more difficult by a lack of supportive public policies, as well as outright barriers to care. Today marks 46 years since Roe v. Wade guaranteed the right to abortion yet those who make the decision to have an abortion are still confronted by coverage bans, mandatory delays, laws that close abortion clinics, and hundreds of other anti-abortion restrictions, as well as a lack of workplace policies like paid sick days that allow them to access care.
Making the decision to become a parent is no less daunting. Pregnant workers often encounter employers who exploit loopholes in our current pregnancy discrimination law to deny reasonable accommodations, resulting in heartbreaking consequences for pregnant women. The United States also lacks a paid family and medical leave policy, which means women, who bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities, are often pushed out of the workforce, jeopardizing their ability to make ends meet and save for the future. On top of all of this, even if they are able to take leave and return to work, women — and especially women of color — continue to face a pernicious wage gap and may be unable to afford quality health care.
The result is that far too many women are forced to choose between options that can limit their opportunities and even lead to poverty. In fact, a woman who wants an abortion but can’t get one is more likely to fall into poverty than a woman who can access care. The consequence is often the same for people who decide to grow their family in a country that doesn’t guarantee supportive workplace policies or access to quality, affordable health care.
This is not what freedom looks like. Policies should facilitate, not obstruct the ability of people to thrive and live with dignity. We must end policies that block access to abortion, like the cynical bill voted on in the Senate just last week. Instead, we need lawmakers to push back against this administration’s anti-science, anti-abortion, anti-family agenda and prioritize laws that provide for abortion coverage and access, affordable health care, paid sick days, paid family and medical leave and fair pay.
Visit NationalPartnership.org/WeDecide for more information and to take action.