Welcome to Brain, Child’s Sunday night news update where we look at issues impacting women and children. Tonight we hear from Your (Wo)Man in Washington, Valerie Young of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers:
A few key things happened last week in political momland that you should know about:
First, the bill that Democrats tried to get through Congress to avoid the effect of the US Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision failed. Called the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, it would have prohibited employers from invoking their religious beliefs to avoid federal law requiring coverage of contraceptive costs. CNN predicts that the issue will figure prominently in the November elections.
A Tennessee law that allows a pregnant woman to be charged with assault if she is found to have narcotics in her system was applied for the first time to a woman who tested positive when her child was delivered. Advocates of the bill say it protects fetuses and infants. Critics say it makes it less likely that addicted expectant mothers will ask for the help they need.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued an official “guidance” regarding discrimination against pregnant workers, still astonishingly common even decades after such behavior was made illegal. Many women do not know their rights and find themselves forced onto unpaid leave, or fail to receive reasonable accommodation to continue their work. NPR has an article and audio, and you can go right to the source at the EEOC.
Police arrested the mother of a 9 year old who was allowed to play unsupervised in a public park while her mother was at work at McDonald’s. The child was placed in foster care. The child typically sat in the restaurant when her mother worked, playing on a laptop, but their home had recently been burgled and the laptop stolen, so the child asked to go to the park instead. Reports unleashed a veritable firestorm in the media.
Valerie Young writes about news at the intersection of motherhood and public policy. Follow her on Facebook at Your (Wo)Man in Washington, and on Twitter @WomanInDC, and find a weekly blog post at WomanInWashington.org.