Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage

Greg Nash

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that calls for employers to provide at least three days of paid leave for workers who experience a miscarriage.

The bill, dubbed the Support Through Loss Act, is looking to “raise awareness about pregnancy loss and establish new paid leave benefits for workers experiencing painful challenges while seeking to grow their family,” according to a press release.

Specifically, the legislation aims to invest $45 million a year to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriages and pregnancy loss, and require that the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), develop and spread public information regarding pregnancy loss, such as statistics on the matter and treatment options.

The bill also proposes a minimum of three days of paid leave for workers “to process and cope following a pregnancy loss, an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption arrangement, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.”

According to the CDC, about one in 100 pregnancies at 20 weeks of carrying and later are affected by stillbirth. Roughly 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. per year.

The lawmakers wrote that while pregnancy loss is “an experience shared across communities and background,” it can sometimes feel like an “isolating experience” because of the lack of truthful information.

Pressley, in a statement announcing the bill, said the legislation will help send a message to families that “they are not alone” when facing roadblocks associated with growing families.

“Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion and support. It is a common experience, but many struggle in silence due to the lack of awareness and cultural stigma,” Pressley said.

“Our bill sends a message to families that they are not alone, and would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy by providing them with the resources, workforce supports, and care necessary to recover and heal,” she added.

Duckworth in a statement talked about her personal challenges with growing her family, which would not exist without “the miracle of IVF.”

“My family faced our own heartbreaks and challenges when growing our family and I wouldn’t have my two girls today if it weren’t for the miracle of IVF,” Duckworth said.

“The Support Through Loss Act would provide so many hopeful parents with the support they need when experiencing loss,” she added.

The push for paid leave following miscarriages comes amid an increased focus on women’s reproductive rights, as a number of states enact laws that place tight restrictions on access to abortion.

Governors in Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Texas have all signed bills that place restrictions on a woman’s ability to receive an abortion.

New Zealand in March passed a bill, called the Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage Bill, that gives couples who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth three paid days off from work so they do not have to use sick days.

Co-sponsors of the bill introduced on Tuesday include Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in addition to Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ayanna Pressley Eleanor Holmes Norton Jan Schakowsky Kirsten Gillibrand Tammy Baldwin Tammy Duckworth
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