Advent 2022: Better Neighbors Care for New Moms
December 19, 2022
When we reflect on the coming of Jesus at Christmas, one detail is very striking as a person who have given birth: God decided to incorporate the birthing of a healthy baby – under far from ideal circumstances – into the salvation plan of the world.
Everything touched by God is forever transformed. And with Christmas now so near – the birth of Jesus so imminent – we should remember that welcoming Jesus into the world means supporting something sacred: maternal health.
The U.S. faces a devastating maternal health crisis. Over 800 women died due to pregnancy or childbirth in 2020, a record high. There are two concrete ways that justice-seekers can confront this crisis right now.
Call to Action:
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would guarantee pregnant workers a right to reasonable, medically-necessary accommodations, closing gaps in current law that have left too many pregnant workers unprotected for too long. Pregnant workers are routinely denied basic, temporary accommodations to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These are often as simple as a stool to sit on, a break from lifting heavy boxes, schedule changes, and protection from dangerous conditions. Many pregnant workers face undue pressures to take an often-unpaid leave of absence, which leads them to poverty. Despite current protections included in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (the last time we passed any sort of legislation to protect pregnant workers), over 37,000 pregnancy discrimination charges have been filed between 2010 and 2020 with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The establishment of nationwide 12-month postpartum Medicaid coverage would reduce disparities in coverage across states, eliminate racial inequities in maternal health outcomes, and end preventable maternal deaths. Extending Medicaid coverage from the current requirement of 60-days postpartum to 12-months nationwide is critical to lowering the nation’s maternal mortality rate. Medicaid covers at least 40 percent of all births in the U.S., a disproportionate number of which are to Black, Latinx, and Native American people.
Read more about NETWORK’s support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
The legislative priorities not passed before the end of the 117th Congress will continue to be priorities of NETWORK in 2023 and beyond!