Maternity Care Coalition Urges Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Pass Legislation Requiring Paid Family Leave

“Legislators and residents on both sides of the aisle know that the Family Care Act would be a game changer for working families,” said State Senator Maria Collett.
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The Maternity Care Coalition held a press conference with advocates and allies Tuesday urging lawmakers in Harrisburg to pass legislation providing paid family leave. 

There are bills in both the state House and Senate awaiting a vote that if passed would make Pennsylvania just the fourteenth state to provide this necessary support for working families. 

State Sen. Maria Collett, who sponsored Senate Bill 580 (The Family Care Act), said this bill would make Pennsylvania a more attractive place for people to both work and raise families. 

“Legislators and residents on both sides of the aisle know that the Family Care Act would be a game changer for working families,” said Collett. “As a nurse, parent, and caregiver, I’ve been proud to champion the Family Care Act, and I won’t stop fighting to get this legislation across the finish line.

In the House, State Rep. Dan Miller is the primary sponsor of HB 181, which would establish the Family and Medical Leave Program and the Family and Medical Leave Fund.

“If you can’t afford to take the leave, you don’t have leave,” said Miller. “This is a game-changer that brings together business interests, and people and families about how we can make sure you will be there for the moments that are the most important in life. We all have examples of when something has been wrong in the home. When someone has been sick when a loved one has been down. When you know you are leaving to go back to work before you’re ready to go back to work, because you couldn’t afford to not. This has to end.”

Other speakers included Holly Cummings, M.D., an Ob/Gyn and chair of the PA chapter of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who shared stories of pregnant people who have to go back to work one to two weeks after giving birth, which she argues is much too soon, as well as State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, who has a 16-month-old daughter. 

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“There was never a question about whether or not I was going to get paid,” said Cappelletti. “My husband, who worked in the private sector, was privileged enough to have three months of paid time off to spend with me and her. But that shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be the law.”

MCC has been around for 40 years with the mission of helping to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women and parenting families and enhance school readiness for children 0—3 in Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

In a recent report done by Kristin Roadman and the MCC, it was found that 50% of pregnancy-related deaths occur within a year after delivery, and 80% of all pregnancy-related deaths are considered preventable. The report also found that if women were given paid time off after delivery, white women were 1.5% more likely to obtain care, and Black women were 3.5% to obtain care after delivery if they were given paid time off. 

The report also found that the financial stability established by paid time off created less stress for parents, and created a more positive impact on their ability to care for their new child. 

State Rep. Morgan Cephas, Co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, said working mothers and fathers shouldn’t have to choose between their paychecks or their families’ health. 

“Paid family leave is essential for supporting our families, ensuring that they have the time they need to care for their loved ones without economic hardship,” said Cephas. “Passing HB 181 is not just a step towards gender equity but a crucial investment in the well-being of our communities. Let’s ensure no family has to choose between their paycheck and their family’s health.”

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After the press conference ended, MCC said in a press release that it “is heartened” to see the two bills pass out of committee.

“Granting Pennsylvanians access to Paid Leave will bring us one step closer to a future where all birthing people have better birth outcomes, live healthier lives, have greater access to high quality and equitable services, and experience the joy of raising their children,” said MCC President and CEO Marianne A. Fray.

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Aidan Tyksinski

Aidan Tyksinki is a recent graduate from La Salle Univeristy in Philadelphia, where he majored in media and journalism and minored in political science. Before writing for the Beacon, he had work published for National Collegiate Rugby as well as his school paper The Collegian, where he was the editor for the sports section and contributer in the politics section.

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