Bill would provide paid time off for women who miscarry

ROCKFORD (WREX) – During her 2016 Senate campaign, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said she miscarried and returned to work the same day.

“It is unthinkable that after this news many would be supposed to show up for work,” Duckworth said.

She says she, like countless other women who have experienced this loss, needed time to process and grieve. That’s why she proposed a new law to give them this break.

“Demand that employers allow at least three days of paid time off to treat and meet health needs in the wake of this devastating news,” Duckworth said.

The measure also offers leave in the event of a failed adoption or surrogacy, or an unsuccessful fertility procedure or related medical diagnosis.

OBGYN Swedish-American Dr Tim Durkee says it’s not uncommon for women to need medical leave after miscarriage to cope with depression and grief.

“It’s a shame we have to pass a law, you hope employers understand that even if it’s a miscarriage it’s still a loss,” Durkee said.

He thinks this proposal is a good start in giving families that time and also preparing workplaces to be sensitive once a woman returns.

“If they keep asking the patient how the pregnancy is going, and they keep reliving the loss.”

“It should definitely be longer,” said Stephanie Grimm, co-executive director of The Haven Network. “As someone who does this professionally and had to bury their own child, I would be a very strong advocate for this to last longer, but having at least three days is a wonderful start for families.”

The Haven offers services to families after miscarriage. Grimm says this bill brings the subject out of the dark and out of the light, ultimately making it easier for families to take the time they need.

“To regroup, to heal, to arrange for their children without the stress of keeping their jobs and having the money to meet medical and funeral bills,” says Grimm.

Duckworth introduced the measure on Tuesday.

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