Of Lip Service and Hypocrisy
Politicians tend to champion the causes they perceive to be safe. Expressing breast milk at work is a good example of a safe topic that features a bit of controversy, but overall generates sympathy, empathy and just makes sense. Not surprisingly, it is easy to find lawmakers who jump on the bandwagon.
Paid maternity leave, on the other hand, raises the ugly specter of “socialism," the battle cry of the conservative politician looking for a foothold in the perennial campaign season against a liberal opponent. Rather than standing up to the label, liberal lawmakers act cowardly and do not touch paid maternity leave benefits. As a result, the United States experiences the FMLA status quo.
While all politicians wave the banner of family values, the fact that -- as outlined by the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security -- “women who take pregnancy disability leave experience positive health benefits, including a reduced risk of Caesarean section, increased breastfeeding, and reduced post-partum depression. And parental leave has significant positive effects on the health of young children, maternal health, and fathers’ involvement with their babies" (emphasis mine).