States Set To Ban Abortions Offer Little Support For Parents And Children

The states most determined to limit reproductive rights have a long way to go in offering universal pre-K, paid family leave and postpartum benefits.

This article is part of a larger series titled “The End of Roe.” Head here to read more.

If states insist on restricting reproductive rights, the least they could do is provide assistance for those parents and their new children.

But they aren’t really doing that.

HuffPost examined 23 states that are set to restrict or ban abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. We looked at whether they offer benefits such as paid family leave, universal pre-K, tax credits aimed at helping families and medical assistance.

The 23 states generally did not score well. Three states ― Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyoming ― didn’t offer any of the seven benefits we examined. Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia scored the best, with four benefits. In comparison, for example, California and New York ― both states with abortion protections on the books ― provide every single one of the benefits.

“In the absence of federal action, overturning Roe will be especially devastating in the states poised to ban abortion,” said Osub Ahmed, associate director of women’s health and rights at the Center for American Progress. “Most of these states have failed to develop policies or invest in programs that support mothers and their families, setting up women forced to continue a pregnancy for failure.”

In addition to the metrics examined by HuffPost, Ahmed noted that fewer 10 of these states require a minimum wage beyond the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

A look at some of the measures we used:

  • Paid Family Leave: Zero of the 23 states set to restrict abortion offer paid family leave. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t offer this benefit. While there is a federal law that provides up to 12 weeks off of work to have a baby, it is unpaid time. It also applies only to companies with 50 or more employees, and to employees who have been employed there for a full year.

  • Medicaid Expansion: The Medicaid program pays for about 4 in 10 births in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded who qualifies for Medicaid coverage, bringing health insurance to more people. But 12 states did not accept the expansion ― including 10 that are set to restrict abortion rights.

  • Full Or Mostly Universal Pre-K: Five states in our group offer full or mostly universal pre-K ― a benefit available in just 11 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. Those states serve at least 70% of their 4-year-old population or have committed to the goal of universal pre-K.

  • State Earned Income Tax Credit: The federal earned income tax credit provides low- and middle-income taxpayers a refundable credit based on income, marital status, number of children and other measurements. More than half of states also offer a state EITC, including nine of the 23 states set to restrict abortion. (Utah and Missouri are included in this list, although they won’t go into effect until 2023, according to the Urban Institute.)

  • State Child Tax Credit: The popular federal child tax credit provides tax relief to families based on their number of children. Only Oklahoma and Idaho offer a state child tax credit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, although unlike the federal one, it is nonrefundable.

  • Pregnant Workers Protections: Nine states on this list have laws requiring some employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as transferring them to a different position that is less hazardous.

  • 12-Month Medicaid Postpartum Extension: Federal law requires Medicaid coverage for pregnancy-related expenses up to 60 days postpartum. The Affordable Care Act also gave states the option to extend that coverage for up to 12 months. Ten states that plan to restrict abortion rights have, or are planning to, implement this extension.

Of course, the benefits here are just a small slice of what’s needed to help families ― and support is needed long after the children are babies and toddlers.

But right now, for many GOP politicians, the focus isn’t even on helping parents and babies.

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