Progressive Cities Give Paid Leave to Employees Who Get Abortions

Portland, Pittsburgh, Boston unanimously pass paid time off post-abortion

A pro-choice activist in Chicago / Getty Images
November 17, 2021

A growing number of progressive cities are quietly expanding their paid leave policies to cover women who get abortions.

The Portland City Council last month expanded its three-day paid bereavement leave to cover women who experience "pregnancy loss," a category that includes abortion, miscarriage, and stillborn delivery. The Pittsburgh City Council enacted a nearly identical proposal a month prior. The Boston City Council in September expanded its 12-week paid parental leave policy to include women and their partners after an abortion. All three plans were passed unanimously.

Democratic lawmakers across the country are pushing to maximize abortion protections as the Supreme Court prepares to take up a historic challenge to Roe v. Wade. Last month, Illinois passed a bill that will allow minors to get abortions without informing their parents. And the House of Representatives passed a bill in September that would codify Roe into law.

The paid leave plans appear to be the first of their kind, according to the Guttmacher Institute's Elizabeth Nash. Boston councilwoman Lydia Edwards (D.) said the expansion bill, which she cosponsored, is "an acknowledgment in modernizing our parental leave laws."

Every member of the Boston and Pittsburgh city councils is a Democrat, as are the mayors of all three cities. Oregon city council members have no party affiliation.

Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project, said that Democrats who push these policies undercut their own arguments about abortion.

"Supporters of abortion often claim it is a medical procedure like any other and that it shouldn't be treated any differently than typical health care," Schilling told the Washington Free Beacon. "So it's somewhat surprising to see these cities categorizing abortion as a loss of pregnancy. Why should someone need time away from work if abortion were simply a routine operation?"

Democrats could soon push for similar leave expansions at a federal level. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) in July proposed a bill that would require employers to establish a three-day paid leave for women who experience pregnancy loss. Neither office responded to a request for comment on whether this leave would include women who get abortions.