Lindsey Boylan’s Plan To

Support Pregnancy and Motherhood

Lindsey Boylan
Jan 28 · 8 min read

Ms. Boylan is proud to have the endorsement of Moms in Office, an organization focused on progressive moms across the country who will champion policies that improve the lives of families and children. Her vision for the future of working families includes a comprehensive plan that covers:

  • Maternal Health, both before and after childbirth
  • Federal Paid Family Leave for all caregivers, which she helped pass for the state of New York
  • Universal Child Care and Pre-K to keep mothers in the workforce and give all children the early education they deserve
  • Ratification the ERA to help protect against pregnancy discrimination and close the gender pay gap — which is even worse for working mothers

PRIORITIZE MATERNAL HEALTH

It is outrageous that the U.S. is the only developing country where maternal mortality has not only increased, but increased at an alarming rate — especially among black women. A pregnant woman today is 50 percent more likely to die than her mother. The CDC reports 60 percent of these deaths are preventable. Women of childbearing age who live in states that did not expand Medicaid are more likely to be uninsured than their counterparts in Medicaid expansion states. This is contributing to the income mortality disparity, which is worse for women. The difference between low- and high- income earners has jumped 250 percent in the last generation.

Stop blaming the victim:

  • Medical Providers must be held accountable. Many review boards prioritize things like race, age, body-mass index, and insurance coverage of the mothers who died rather than focus on the medical care the women received during childbirth. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act begins to address this, but elected officials and health departments need to commit to staffing and funding comprehensive reviews. Many professions are reviewed and investigated by the public. This should be no different for doctors and hospitals.
  • There are many reports of women whose complaints about pregnancy-related ailments went ignored — especially among women of color, regardless of education or income. The most famous case being Serena Williams. Implicit bias must be addressed to eliminate racial disparities in maternal health. We must fund a nationwide program for implicit bias training for healthcare professionals — and track compliance.
  • Pregnant women eligible for Medicaid should have expedited enrollment so that their care is not delayed.

Treat the 4th Trimester:

  • There is a lot of care leading up to birth, but very little help postpartum once the baby is born. Resources must be provided to help mothers care for their newborns — and for themselves. We must provide quality, affordable access to postpartum doulas to support new moms as an essential health service.
  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADS), including postpartum depression, are the most common complication of childbirth in the US, affecting about 14 percent of people and up to 50 percent of people in some populations. This causes a number of issues for mothers and babies, one of the largest being maternal suicides, which account for up to 20 percent of postpartum deaths. Mental health conditions must be treated on par with physical health under Medicare for all. Boylan suffered from postpartum depression after her daughter was born. Thanks to access to work sponsored insurance she was able to get help, but many new moms don’t have that benefit. We must break the stigma around PMADS so that new moms aren’t afraid to ask for help and provide quality, affordable access to mental health professionals leading up to childhood — on par with doctors that would be provided for physical health.
  • Well-fed babies are also a crucial factor in the health of mother and child. For those who choose to breastfeed, there needs to be a federal law ensuring the right to feed your baby anytime, anywhere. Additionally, the Federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law should extend to ALL employees — not just most hourly, and some salaried, employees which is what is currently covered by the FLSA. Breast pumps and lactation consultants should be fully covered as we fight for Medicare for All. In addition, we must secure funding to make sure mothers who cannot, or chose not to, breastfeed have the formula and supplies they need to feed their babies.

Give women a choice:

  • A woman has the right to decide when she wants to become a mother, and if she wants to expand her family. Access to education, birth control, and abortion should be treated as essential healthcare needs under Medicare for All.

PASS PAID FAMILY LEAVE

According to the UN, the U.S. is the only country among high- and middle-income countries with no national paid leave policy for mothers, or fathers. The U.S. is the lowest-ranked nation on the report’s list of family-friendly policies among rich nations. Roughly 80 percent of workers in the private sector have no access to paid family leave, and just nine percent of wage earners in the bottom 25 percent have access. In one of the richest countries in the world, there is no reason anyone should have to sacrifice family for work. Boylan helped pass Paid Family Leave for the state of New York and plans to bring the initiative nationwide.

Normalize Parental Leave:

Account for all caregivers and caregiving:

END THE MOTHERHOOD PENALTY

An astounding 41 percent of employed Americans perceive working moms to be less devoted to their work. More than a third judge them for needing a flexible schedule. On top of these discriminations, mothers in the U.S. get paid only 71 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. And when it comes to announcing a pregnancy, the number of women worried to tell their bosses has almost doubled in the last five years. Boylan experienced the motherhood penalty in her most recent job when she was the only mom on the executive team, hiding a stress-related illness because she was afraid her colleagues would think she was pregnant and her career would be stunted.

Provide Universal Childcare, 3K and Pre-K:

  • Research shows providing childcare for working mothers leads to more work experience and higher earnings gains through participating in the workforce. High-quality child care also gives the child advantages developmentally, which promotes social mobility within and across generations. Further, it’s a good investment given the benefits in terms of reduced health care costs, reduced crime, greater earnings, more education, and higher IQ. The rate of return is roughly 13 percent per annum.
  • Across the country, and especially in New York, child care is expensive. The average annual cost for infant care in New York is over $15K, which is over 90 percent more per year than in-state tuition for public college. The Department of Health and Human Services declares affordable childcare to cost seven percent of a family’s income. In New York, child care takes up 22 percent of a family’s income. This is bad for working moms who can’t afford to go back to work, and even worse for working moms who can’t afford not to. It is also at the root of achievement gaps in children — putting our society in a lose-lose situation.
  • Boylan supports Warren’s Universal Child Care Plan, providing grants to local partners to create a network of child care options for every family and subsidizing costs based on what families can afford.
  • We must develop national standards for childcare centers to make sure every child is getting quality care and a raise for child care workers similar to those of public school teachers.

Ratify the ERA:

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act has failed many workers. Stories of miscarriage and mortality have been prevalent, yet women don’t get justice because the law does not cover special accommodations pregnant women may need, similar to how the ADA would cover a disability. While the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act aims to prevent further harm, legal experts believe the ERA could help strengthen protections because it would make clear that discrimination on the basis of sex-specific characteristics is a form of sex discrimination — therefore pregnant women are entitled to equal treatment.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, the global pay gap will close in 257 years. The US ranks 53rd out of 153 countries. A majority of Americans support equal pay, yet women earn on average 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, Black women earn 61 cents, Native American women 58 cents, and Latinas 53 cents. Moms who work full time are paid an average of 69 cents for every $1 a father makes. As we know, the gap gets worse for women of color. We’ve seen various bills proposed and punted when it comes to equal pay. Now that Virginia has passed the ERA, it is urgent that we ratify the amendment under the constitution to move the needle on the gender pay gap.
    Lindsey Boylan

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