Opinion: If a Roe v. Wade is pro-child, where’s the help with child care costs?

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The disclosed intentions of a predominantly conservative Supreme Court to ban legal abortion rightly worry many Americans about reproductive freedom and access to quality health care.

But the impending removal of decades-old protections is also a reminder that the federal government and most U.S. states provide little spending and other support for child care — safe and accessible daily care for minors in households. who work. the greed is blatant relative to other wealthy countries whose economies compete with the United States

The private sector, in turn, is everywhere with childcare allowances. Some workplaces understand that having happy workers pays off and offer perks like on-site childcare and generous paid time off. But part-time workers are less likely to receive these benefits and have few options for extending career-changing part-time positions given the cost of care.

Lily: ‘Corporations can’t look the other way’: Is it time for corporate America to take a stand on abortion?

The High Court intends to overturn the landmark decision Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion, according to a Monday night report from Politico, which obtained a leaked majority draft opinion on the pending decision. Reverse Roe v. Wade would end federal abortion rights protections and open the door, many believefor less access to contraception, leaving it up to each State to decide on the legality of this care.

This is a huge political shift from the established law of the past 50 years, and a shift with electoral implications. A majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all casesalthough they vary depending on the specifics.

Lily: Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade would boost Democratic turnout in midterm elections, analysts say

And: What percentage of Americans support Roe v. Wade? What Americans Really Think About Abortion, According to Polls

For many women and men, it is becoming increasingly clear that “babysitting” noticeably declines from conception – the point a few weeks into a typical 40-week human gestation period that seems to be at heart of the strongest argument. against the termination of an unwanted or high-risk pregnancy.

This is the magic moment for the “pro-life” – often translated as “pro-family” – side of the argument for legal abortion, regardless of the life-saving, even nurturing benefits that babies and their families have. may need in the months and years that follow.

“For a nation seemingly determined to make sure people have babies, we certainly don’t want to invest in them,” tweeted Heidi Stevensmother and former Chicago Tribune columnist, now freelance parenting writer.

Stevens cited several statistics to make his point: for example, 77% of private sector workers did not have access to paid family leave in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These benefits were available to 12% of private sector workers in the lowest 25% wage category and 37% of workers in the highest 25% wage category.

The 0.2% of U.S. gross domestic product invested in child care for children ages 2 and under is about $200 a year for most families through an annual tax credit for parents who pay for child care. guard.

And one in four women in the United States return to work within two weeks of giving birth, according to advocacy group Paid Leave US (PL+US). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women take at least six weeks off work after giving birth.

The vagaries of prenatal and infant care in the United States that rely heavily on private insurance have received increased attention and may require further study and solutions.

Fifteen of the 21 presumed ‘family-friendly’ states willing to ban or severely restrict abortion rank in the bottom half of states overall child well-being assessment calculated annually by the nonpartisan Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropic group focused on the welfare of children. Mississippi and Texasstates whose restrictive new abortion laws have prompted Supreme Court reconsideration of the issue, rank last and fifth from bottom, respectively.

Lily: ‘I’m grateful I had my abortion’: Supreme Court to hear challenge to Mississippi abortion law – here’s what’s at stake

And: Biden calls on voters to ‘elect pro-choice leaders in November’

But it is the shock of one particular area of ​​parenting – childcare costs – that cannot be ignored in the economic conversation about reproductive rights. It’s true particularly in relation to wages and salaries. The availability of safe and reliable care must also become increasingly flexible as the workplace becomes more fluid post-COVID-19. In fact, COVID-19 has laid bare just how costly and career-ending childcare constraints can be, especially if families are dealing with other burdens.

Childcare: demand exceeds supply

To start, having children is expensive, usually costs around $15,000 a year for a middle-class family. For active low-income families, care costs only can gobble up more than a third of the winnings.

According to one figure, families across the United States spend an average of $8,355 per year on child care per child. According to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Bankrate.

By another measure, in 2019, before the pandemic, families spent an average of $9,200 to $9,600 per child on child care, according to America’s Conscious Child Care, which promotes access to affordable child care. The nonprofit calculates that families headed by married couples spend around 10% of household income on childcare, while single parents spend around 34% of their income.

Childcare costs can vary greatly by location and age of the child, and whether child care includes a curriculum or other add-ons, which can drive up the average cost. For many families, high-quality child care is not an option: there are not enough child care providers to meet demand, and providers are leaving the field in record numbers, says Child Care Aware. This particularly affects families of color, families living in rural areas and children with functional needs.

Lily: How American politics created a tribal culture on moral issues: “40 years ago, if I told you this person supports abortion, you couldn’t tell what they think about taxes, health care and immigration”

Even “pro-family” efforts to keep one or more parents at home longer after a baby is born have found only limited success.

President Biden’s Build Back Better spending package aimed to provide all American workers with 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and later iterations of the now-blocked bill cut that proposal to four weeks before omitting it entirely. . Opponents of including the paid vacation provision, including Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, said a sweeping spending bill was the wrong place for the policy.

Many cite the burden on businesses and the risk that these costs will hamper wage increases. But a study released last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that taxpayer-funded paid family leave does not harm employers and may in fact improve their experience of managing worker absences.

Read more: Paid family leave in New York ‘doesn’t seem to hurt employers’, new study finds

“Attacks on birth control escalate”

The Supreme Court said tuesday that while the leaked draft was genuine, it did not represent its members’ final position on the matter. The High Court is expected to announce its Roe decision within the next two months, ruling on a case brought by Mississippi that seeks to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state also asked the court completely knock Roe down.

“Roe got it badly wrong from the start,” Judge Samuel Alito wrote in a draft majority opinion obtained by Politico and put online. “We believe Roe and Casey should be overturned,” Alito continued, also citing a 1992 case that upheld Roe’s 1973 decision.

The reversal of Family planning c. Casey could roll back women’s privacy of reproductive rights and impose longer waiting times after seeing a clinic. Already the court had ruled that private interests could restrict birth control and other care in health plans — all developments that add suspicion to how “child-friendly” this landmark movement would be.

“Given their focus on limiting access to abortion, you might assume that conservative politicians would favor policies that help women avoid unwanted pregnancies,” writes Michele Gilman, professor of law at the University of Baltimore, in a commentary for The Conversation.

“Conservative attacks on birth control are intensifying, even though 99% of sexually active women of childbearing age have used some form of it like an intrauterine device, patch or pill at least once,” added Gilman.

In addition to its widely recognized benefits for women’s health and autonomy, contraception directly stimulates the economy. In fact, research shows that access to the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage gains since the 1960s.

And this advantage does not stop with women.

Children born to mothers with access to family planning benefit from an increase of 20% to 30% in their own lifetime earnings, as well as higher education completion rates, according to a 2013 paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

For now, in the absence of more attention from Washington and other leaders to real child care, access to contraception and other reproductive services may be all Households trying to balance healthy careers and healthy families – with children cared for both inside and outside the home – can count on.

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