Soon-To-Be State Senator Sponsored 12 Weeks Paid Abortion Leave For Men And Women In Boston

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Boston city councilor Lydia Edwards (D-East Boston) will most likely end up being a member of the Massachusetts Senate next year.

The progressive Democrat, who supported 12 weeks of paid abortion leave for both men and women as a member of the Boston city council, won a Massachusetts Senate special election primary earlier this month. It took place on December 14, 2021 in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District.

She defeated Revere school committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio, the more moderate Democrat of the two in the race. Edwards got 60.2 percent and D’Ambrosio got 39.6 percent. That means Edwards advanced to the special general election on Tuesday, January 11, 2022; she appears to be running unopposed. Assuming she wins that election, Edwards will go on to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Joe Boncore of Cambridge back in September; Boncore resigned to become the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

This past September, an ordinance for the city of Boston put together by three city councilors — Edwards, then-at-large city councilor (and current mayor) Michelle Wu, and now-outgoing city councilor Anissa Essaibi George — passed unanimously. It granted Boston’s city employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for pregnancy loss, including termination, as NewBostonPost reported last month. The policy applies to both women and men and offers the same leave benefits for abortion as the city does for childbirth.

The city’s paid leave scheme offers employees 100 percent of their base wages during the first four weeks of leave, then 75 percent for the next four weeks, and 50 percent for the last four weeks of leave.

The expanded paid leave enacted this year applies to workers meet all of these criteria:


1. The employee has been employed by the City of Boston in a benefits-eligible position for at least 12 consecutive months or 52 consecutive weeks without any break in service;

2. The employee has been in pay status for at least 1250 hours in the preceding 12-month period;

3. The employee is either (a) not covered by a collective bargaining agreement or (b) is covered by a collective bargaining agreement through: AFSCME; AFSCME 1526; Boston Park Rangers Association; Boston Police Detective Benevolent Society, Forensics Group; IAFF; New York Typographical Union, CWA Local 14156; PSA; AFSCME; SEIU; and SENA;

4. The employee will experience an Event on or after the effective date of this Paid Parental Leave Policy.


The September 2021 paid leave ordinance also applies to two other kinds of pregnancy loss:  miscarriages and stillbirths.

Edwards spoke in support of the paid abortion leave aspect of the ordinance back in August, arguing that it shouldn’t put a stigma on abortion. Here is what she said:


I also wanted to make sure that I addressed a concern expressed to me. This — the point of having loss of pregnancy as a lead policy. This is for folks who are pro-choice and were concerned about a stigma being put on termination, or a sense that it is unhealthy or causes pain or causes immense amount of emotional turmoil. That is not the goal of this. In any way provide additional stigma or something about that, about the termination of a pregnancy — in any way, shape, or form.

I firmly believe what Councilor O’Malley said, what Councilor Mejia said, what the — Councilor Wu and Councilor Essaibi George — is that:  Employees know what they need, and they will express what they need. And we just want to make sure that we have the most compassionate laws to allow for people to say, “I need this” or “I don’t.” If a person terminates a pregnancy, and they do not need this leave, I don’t believe they’re gonna go and write this to you or abuse this policy. I believe they’re gonna move on with their lives — which is what they’re entitled to do, in any way, shape, or form.

And, if they at some point, as Councilor Mejia noted, need to take this leave, they are able to do so within a year. This is meant to just assume people have private lives, and that aspects of entering or exiting parenthood is impactful. That’s the whole goal. So I wanted to address this to those who may be watching and being concerned about a stigma.


Massachusetts Citizens for Life executive director Patricia Stewart told NewBostonPost last month that the policy is an admission that there is a loss of life in an abortion.

“Ironically, the grant of abortion leave reinforces the pro-life view that abortion is a serious medical choice with potentially life-altering consequences for a woman’s physical, emotional, and psychological health,” Stewart told NewBostonPost in an email message. “Liberals’ acknowledgement of this truth may have the unintended effect of causing more women to rethink an abortion decision and save a baby’s life. Or, so we can hope.”

The First Suffolk and Middlesex Disttrict includes: the city of Boston, ward 1, precincts 1 to 14, inclusive, ward 3, precincts 1 to 4, inclusive, 6 and 8, and ward 5, precinct 1, 3 to 5, inclusive, and 11; the city of Revere; and the town of Winthrop. All are in Suffolk a county. It also includes the city of Cambridge, ward 2, precincts 2 and 3, ward 4, precincts 1 and 3, and ward 5, in Middlesex County.

Edwards could not be reached for comment on Thursday.


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