Pregnant women in the US and Israel face starkly different choices – The Forward

As America grapples with the grim possibility of a future without Roe V. Wade, it’s about time we examined the dire state of American motherhood.

COVID has greatly exacerbated existing inequalities and disparities both at home and in the workplace, repeatedly proving that American moms don’t have enough support. Nearly two million women who quit their jobs or were forced to leave during the pandemic have not returned to work.

According to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenending abortion access will make these problems much worse, setting women back decades and sending more women and children into poverty.

For a supposedly pro-life movement, the policies implemented in this country by conservative activists are profoundly anti-family. There’s a reason why 60% of abortion patients in America are already mothers: The United States is the worst place in the Western world to be a mother. If Roe falls, millions of American women will have this failed system imposed on them.

You do not believe me? Just take a look at our Israeli counterparts. Israel is not a feminist paradise, but at least they provide new parents with what should be the bare minimum.

Let’s compare and contrast two fictional pregnant women, Noa in Israel and Sarah in America.

Once you give birth In Israel, Noa will have 14 weeks of paid maternity leave and can choose to take an additional 28 weeks without pay. In the United States, whether or not Sarah has paid leave probably depends on her employer.

The United States is the only rich country in the world without paid federal leave. We give new parents up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave, but even that small accommodation has restrictions.

See also  Family investors are driving the PLS market

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from FMLA (and no employee qualifies if they have been at their job for less than 12 months). Given the means, medium of Americans work for a small business, a staggering number of Americans are not entitled to any type of license. If Sarah has worked for a small business in the last 11 months. while Noa enjoys her paid maternity leave, Sarah may risk losing her job if she misses any work.

As sleep-deprived Sarah tries to figure out how to keep the lights on without a paycheck, or rushes back to work before her bleeding from labor has stopped, she’s in for a nasty surprise: the hospital bill. . Assuming she has health insurance, she had no major complications, and she did not need a C-section, she Sarah will owe an average of $10,000.

Since 40% of Americans cannot afford to cover even a $400 emergency dollars, no matter the months without a paycheck, pregnancy and childbirth could easily push Sarah’s family into poverty. 16% of American children already grow up in poverty: more than 11 million children.

Sarah, our Jewish American woman, has thousands of dollars in medical debt and no salary. Noa, her Israeli counterpart, snuggles with her baby, enjoys her paid leave, and her hospital bills are covered by the National Insurance Institute.

Fear not, Sarah in America, whose debt is growing faster than the pile of dirty diapers at the diaper genie: you’ll be back at work soon! Sure, a paycheck will help! Except now we come to the American child care crisis. You’re hit with the double whammy of months without pay, medical debt, and skyrocketing child care costs when you return to work.

See also  4 Personal Finance Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

American families face skyrocketing child care costs and shortages. child care costs they have increased 41% during the pandemic, with some families spending 20% ​​of their wages on childcare. In Washington, DC, where I live, annual baby care fees add up to about $24,000 a year. In Israel, childcare is heavily subsidized if a mother works at least 24 hours a week. Childcare costs per month depend on the mother’s salary and hours.

Our Sarah is industrious and hardworking. Even if she risks losing her job, she will surely eventually get out of debt and everything will balance out, right? I’m sorry, Sarah, but your bundle of joy has caused you to be hit with the dreaded “maternity penalty”: You will lose an average of $16,000 a year due to lost wages. Sarah’s employers and co-workers are likely to see her as less committed to her job, and more likely to put her on the disastrous “Mommy Track” with no promotions, raises, or opportunities in sight.

Noa faces similar dangers when she returns to work: Israel has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the OECD. But while both Sarah and Noa will face discrimination as working moms, Noa likely won’t start out with a ton of debt.

What if Sarah and Noa had decided to have an abortion? If Noa decides to abort, while there are obstacles, she will find it widely available and often at no cost to her. Israel abortion law of 1977 requires you to appear before a review board made up of two doctors and a social worker, one of whom must be a woman. While activists have called for reforms and denounced the process as invasive and humiliating, 98% of cases are approved and little or no cost is passed on to the patient.

See also  Motherhood does not depend on a romantic relationship. So why do we still treat it that way?

Without Roe V. Wade, Sarah’s access to abortion will depend on where she lives and how her state government decides to regulate abortion. She may have to travel hundreds of miles. She could face legal proceedings. She may be forced to carry the baby to term. The truth is, without Roe, we don’t know exactly what happens to Sarah in America. If she is a single mother, you are likely to end up in poverty.

Banning abortion in a country that offers no support to new or potential mothers is immoral and unethical. A better way for families is not a pipe dream: it is what your Israeli cousins ​​and colleagues live with every day. Compared to Israeli politics and the politics of every other rich country in the world, American politics is staunchly anti-family and anti-mom. If the United States is going to continue enacting anti-family and anti-mom policies, we should, at a minimum, continue to offer the right to choose whether or not to be a mother.