On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the mothers who have loved, supported, and inspired us throughout our lives. It’s a day to say thank you, and it’s also a good time to reflect on how far we have to go when it comes to supporting our hardworking Minnesota moms.
Here’s what we mean, and what you can do about it:
Paid family leave
For decades, women have been fighting for equity in the workplace. We’ve come a long way, but we still need action to ensure that moms have the support they need to balance work and family. That starts with paid family leave.
Today, one in four new mothers in the U.S. return to work within two weeks of giving birth. Imagine that. Enduring hours and hours of labor, caring for a newborn while your own body recovers, losing precious sleep, and then returning to work in just a few days. For lots of moms, they have no choice, because they need those paychecks to keep their new babies clothed and fed.
And it’s not just newborns that depend on Minnesota moms. Women make up the vast majority of family caretakers, giving up their time, often for no pay, to care for elders and sick family members.
That’s why progressives in the Minnesota Legislature have spent years advocating for paid family leave, and in March passed a bill that would provide up to 12 weeks of paid time off for Minnesotans to care for a new child or an ailing relative. Sadly, conservatives in the Minnesota Senate continue to block family leave bills.
We need to hold conservatives accountable and demand that our leaders support Minnesota’s working moms.
Nowadays, it seems barbaric to deny a pregnant woman coverage for her maternity care, or to charge a woman more for health insurance just because of her gender, but that was our reality before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Shockingly, conservatives want to return to that system.
Wealthy pharmaceutical and insurance companies want to profit off our moms, and conservatives want to let them. That’s why, right now, Texas v. United States, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA, is being heard in the Supreme Court. Depending on the court’s decision, we could be forced to go back to the days where mothers could be denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions like pregnancy and postpartum depression.
Regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, we need to send a clear message to conservatives: stop prioritizing corporate greed over Minnesota moms. We must ensure that mothers can access the health care they need, at a price they can afford, without suffering discrimination at the hands of insurance companies.
Many of us will be calling the mothers in our lives this weekend to wish them a happy Mother’s Day. While you’re at it, why not call your legislators too? Find out who represents you, and let them know that you demand affordable health care and paid family leave. Together, we’ll fight for a better Minnesota for our moms.