Casey offers measure on workplace fairness for pregnant employees

Kevin McCorry: “Working women who become pregnant face the daunting task of balancing their careers while nurturing the health of their child.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says that task is too often made more difficult by employers who see pregnancy as a threat to productivity.

To remedy the situation Casey has crafted the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — a bill that would update 1978’s Pregnancy Discrimination Act. His bill follows the lead of the Americans with Disabilities Act — demanding that employers provide pregnant workers with “reasonable accommodations” as long as they don’t interfere with the job.

Those who champion women’s rights say the proposed change is a long time coming because current regulations don’t clearly obligate employers to provide moms-to-be with the accommodations their pregnancies often require.”

A Distraction From the Issues About Abortion

Sherif Girgis: “Whatever one’s ultimate view of a rape exception to laws protecting the unborn, no remotely plausible case against such an exception could rest on assumptions about the mother (as Akin’s seems to do), rather than beliefs about the unborn child’s rights. Some social conservatives, including Mitt Romney, would allow an exception; others would not. But what all pro-lifers seek, and what Akin’s comments make harder to realize, is a world in which there is finally no zero-sum game between mothers’ needs and those of their unborn children; in which the equal dignity of every human being — including the smallest and weakest — isn’t premised on blaming or punishing women, or indeed on anything else, but shines by its own light, as a self-evident truth.”

Better Leave Policy for Moms

Bloomberg View: “The U.S. is the only major industrialized country not to guarantee paid parental leave nationwide. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act passed in 1993 allows workers as much as 12 weeks of leave without losing their jobs or benefits, but it doesn’t protect wages.

California was the first state to institute a program filling the gap. The state has long allowed women to receive temporary disability insurance payments in the four weeks leading up to their due dates and in the six weeks or more after giving birth. Since 2004, the state’s Paid Family Leave program has enabled both parents to take off an additional six weeks and be paid 55 percent of their usual wages, up to a cap of $1,011 a week in 2012…

President Barack Obama has sought a grant program to help states experiment with paid leave, but Congress didn’t approve his requests for $50 million in 2011 and $23 million in 2012. His 2013 budget seeks just $5 million.

That is a worthy investment to make in the millions of parents who lack the resources of someone as successful as Mayer, yet would nevertheless like to combine parenthood with a fruitful career.”

Gender Bias

America: “Without regulation, tacit acceptance of abortion for any and all motivations becomes the societal norm. Preventing abortion solely for gender selection is an area on which a wide consensus could be built in the United States. The overemphasis on “choice” in this case undermines decades of society’s efforts to promote gender equality, including the efforts of many feminists.”

Beyond Abortion—A Common Good Feminism for the Twenty-First Century

Article I co-wrote with Christopher Hale, Anne Roan Thomas, and Sarah Rosemann: “Neither ideological extremism nor partisanship should stand in the way of accomplishing this worthy goal.  The time has come to dial down the nasty rhetoric and the perpetual vitriol and work together on a goal everyone can agree on without compromising their deepest values: to create a country whose political and economic structures, whose social and cultural values, make it a place where abortion is no longer needed or desired by pregnant women.  The conflict over the legality of abortion will inevitably persist, but feminists on both sides of the issue can and should work together on issues where there is common ground.”