Paid Sick Days and Abortion Access
In the wake of multiple states passing or introducing laws that ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) and the National Partnership for Women & Families have joined together to release several new resources to help ensure that working people understand their rights under current paid sick days laws, including their right to use sick time for reproductive health care.
Yamani Hernandez, Executive Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds:
“All people who live where paid sick time is guaranteed deserve to know their rights, and that paid sick time can be used to access an abortion. Everyone who needs an abortion must be able to afford to leave work to access it. Abortion is not accessible if taking that time off might otherwise negatively impact income at a time when a reliable paycheck is crucial. As states escalate restrictions to limit abortion access, the people most affected often have the most tenuous work protections and are stretching paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. That’s why we’re proud to partner with National Partnership for Women and Families in equipping working people with the knowledge and process they need to exercise their right to paid sick time. Too often, privacy, time, and money are resources reserved for people with higher wage jobs and expansive benefits. Economic justice, and protecting and expanding the rights of all working people, must be of primary concern to anyone working to make abortion more accessible.”
Paid sick day laws are essential to ensure people can take care of themselves and their families. The details of state and local paid sick days laws vary, but in general they allow employees to accrue paid sick time to use for their own needs or to care for a family member such as a spouse, child or parent. Paid sick days are not just for personal recovery from a short-term illness like the flu, but also allow us to care for a sick loved one, seek assistance related to an incident involving sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking, and, as the new resources seek to highlight, take paid time away from work to access abortion care.
While access to paid sick days has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, more than 34 million private sector workers still cannot earn a single paid sick day. The combination of a lack of paid sick days and other barriers to abortion care disproportionately affects low-income women, women of color and women living in medically underserved areas, including rural communities.
Sarah Lipton-Lubet, Vice President for Reproductive Health and Rights, National Partnership for Women & Families:
“Our country’s restrictive reproductive policies are infringing on people’s rights to make decisions about whether and when to start a family. Coverage bans like the Hyde amendment, mandatory delay laws that force people to make multiple trips to clinics, and many other restrictions are just part of a larger attack on our reproductive freedom. A lack of paid sick days exacerbates these barriers by forcing people to choose between abortion care and losing wages or even jeopardizing their employment. State and local paid sick days laws can help people obtain the care they need and allow them to make the best decision about whether to start or grow their families without jeopardizing their financial future.”
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