Today, we applaud Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu for filing an ordinance to provide Boston city employees with six weeks of paid parental leave.
As a working mother, I understand first-hand the struggles of needing paid leave to have a child. I was pregnant and had my daughter while self employed, and I lacked the support of parental leave benefits. My difficult pregnancy severely limited my ability to work, and in addition to the strain of unpaid maternity leave after having my daughter, my family was left financially unstable. My story isn’t unique—many working families are just one emergency away from bankruptcy. This is why NARAL fights so hard to remove barriers that prevent women from making the reproductive health choices that are right for them, including preventing unplanned pregnancy; bearing healthy children; and choosing safe, legal, and accessible abortion.
Economic security is a key factor in many family’s reproductive health decisions. Whether a woman and her family can afford to have a child is largely related to whether the family will be financially secure during parental leave. Women and their families need policies to ensure that they can make choices about their family and health that are right for them. Providing paid parental leave to working parents is the baseline of a society that respects and values families.
We encourage the Boston City Council to pass this ordinance quickly and for other municipalities to take action as well. The Massachusetts legislature should interpret the City of Boston’s effort as a call to action to pass a Paid Family and Medical Leave bill so that all working families across the Commonwealth can make the choices to care for themselves and family members without financial penalty.