Maternity leave is a pro-life issue

Women would be less likely to want abortions if they knew they could provide for their children. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Miller.

A topic that has been hitting the headlines as of late is the issue of maternity/family leave. It has been, in many cases, overlooked by those to whom it doesn’t immediately apply. However,  voters must pay close attention to this issue.

People in the pro-life movement have a tendency to overlook the nitty-gritty issues of the abolition of abortion.  In a prior article, I argued that the solution to stopping the cycle of abortion is not to simply make abortion illegal, just like making drugs illegal hasn’t solved that problem.  Abortion can only end when a society is created in which abortion is unnecessary. In increasing the educational opportunities for girls across the globe, we would decrease child marriage and increase wages for women, which make women less likely to seek abortions.

In this article, I would like to expand on what I previously argued by adding that assuring that the option of paid maternity/family leave is vital to the pro-life movement and eliminating the need for abortion.

The reason for this is simple. Women are less likely to have abortions if they feel they are well positioned to care for their children, particularly with regard to finances. The stress of having to take time off of work to give birth and care for the child in the following days is huge. Not only do expectant mothers have to worry about whether they will receive pay during this period, they must worry about the possibility of consequences in the workplace because of their absence.

This encompasses the idea of paid family leave. I include the idea of family leave as covering the care of a disabled child, which is another major reason for abortion. If families and mothers felt that they could fully care for children with disabilities without too much financial stress, they would be less likely to abort children who could be identified with disabilities in the womb.

Currently, a woman can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.  When considering the two presidential candidates from a pro-life perspective, one must consider this issue. The proposals of the presidential candidates each have their pros and cons.

Hillary Clinton’s plan does not offer much change to the status quo of up to 12 weeks paid leave.  Donald Trump’s plan, however, does call for change. He will reduce the leave to six weeks of partial pay, but offer tax cuts in the form of new Dependent Care Savings Accounts, which would be available to all.

Both these plans have their drawbacks and their benefits. Trump’s drawback is that he proposes to cut down the number of paid weeks leave by half, and Clinton’s is that she doesn’t offer much change beyond offering pay.

In this case pro-life voters find ourselves wondering which would be better: more of the same with Clinton or less leave and more tax breaks covering overall childcare costs for the first 13 years of life with Trump.

If we can decide on a reasonable and sustainable system for maternity leave, we can get closer to the ultimate goal of creating a society in which abortion is unnecessary. If career women feel like they’re not going to lose their jobs after childbirth, they will be less likely to have abortions. Additionally, if the women who discover that their children will have disabilities do not fear penalties for giving them the care they need, they will be less likely to terminate their pregnancies.

This, in addition to the education of women that I spoke about in my last article on abortion, can contribute to the creation of a society in which abortion is not needed.


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