Ayanna Pressley Bill Would Require Paid Abortion Leave Nationwide

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/02/14/ayanna-pressley-bill-would-require-paid-abortion-leave-nationwide/

Paid abortion leave exists in a few liberal cities in the United States.

However, if U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park) had it her way, it would be a practice across the country.

Last year, Pressley and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) introduced the Support Through Loss Act (H.R. 4576, S.2390) into their respective chambers of Congress.

The primary purpose of the bill is to provide workers with at least three days of paid time off in cases of pregnancy loss. It would require companies that employ five or more people to cover this leave.

The bill requires this paid leave coverage in the following cases:


(A) a pregnancy loss;

(B) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure;

(C) a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party;

(D) a failed surrogacy arrangement; or

(E) a diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.


The bill does not mention the word “abortion” or “termination.” But the terms “pregnancy loss” and “event that impacts pregnancy” include abortion, according to a spokesman for one of the sponsors of the bill.

Matt Corrodini, communications director for U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton), a sponsor of the bill, was asked by NewBostonPost about the bill’s connection with abortion. Corrodini told NewBostonPost by email:  “Congressman Auchincloss is a co-sponsor of the bill and proud to have a perfect voting score with both NARAL and Planned Parenthood.”

Pressley hasn’t addressed the abortion aspect of her bill directly. But in September 2021 she voiced support for a paid-leave policy in Boston that explicitly includes abortion.

Shortly after the Boston City Council adopted the ordinance amendment expanding paid-leave for city employees to include abortion and other forms of pregnancy loss, Pressley released a statement endorsing it.

Of her own bill, Pressley said in September 2021:


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. 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. I am grateful to Senator Duckworth and to our advocates for their close partnership on this long-overdue legislation.


Pressley’s paid-abortion-leave bill has 19 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including two others from Massachusetts:  U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Revere) and Auchincloss. It also includes two other members of The Squad:  U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), and U.S. Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri).

In the U.S. Senate, the bill has 11 co-sponsors. One of those co-sponsors is U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge).

The House version of the bill has not been assigned to a committee. The Senate version sits in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, but no further action has been taken.

The federal bills seeks to offer benefits comparable to the paid leave offered to city workers in Portland, Oregon and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania following a pregnancy loss, including an abortion. There, city employees can receive up to three days of paid leave following an abortion.

In Boston, however, the leave is more expensive to the city government. Workers can receive up to 12 weeks off following pregnancy loss, including an abortion.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life executive director Patricia Stewart told NewBostonPost last November that the Boston paid abortion leave bill acknowledges a loss of life occurring 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 press offices for Pressley, Clark, and Warren could not be reached for comment on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.


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