Call your Senator now to support paid family leave
Last week, we learned that poor breastfeeding rates cost the US $13 billion a year in lost lives and excess health costs. The study, by ABM member Melissa Bartick, generated headlines around the globe. We’re losing $13 billion – that’s billlion with a ‘b’ — every year because mothers and babies can’t sustain breastfeeding. What can we do to support moms so they can meet their breastfeeding goals? We could start with paid parental leave.
The US shares with Swaziland, Lesotho, and Papua New Guinea the dubious distinction of being the only countries without it. Paid leave would allow mothers to spend those first months nurturing their infants, rather than cobbling together a few weeks of sick leave and disability to make ends meet.
When you call, you’ll be asking your Senators to sign on to what is called a “member-to-member” letter — that means that it’s a letter to Senators from Senators. It asks the Senate Appropriations Committee to support full funding of a State Paid Leave Fund. This fund, proposed by President Obama, would provide $50 million in competitive grants to help states launch paid leave programs.
A little seed money can go a long way toward advancing new policies, and it’s never been more critical to push forward paid family leave programs.
I just called my Senators’ offices — it took all of about 5 minutes. According to MomsRising, even 2 calls to each Senator’s office could make a huge difference in this crucial public health issue. Moms and babies need your voice — Please call now, and spread the word!
Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, is a maternal-fetal medicine physician and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.