In the News: May 2022

Parents in Politics: “It’s not a good system.”

Erin Maye Quade

Erin Maye Quade, advocacy director at Gender Justice and candidate for Minnesota Senate, went into active labor four hours before candidates vied for DFL endorsement at the April 23 convention. Her team devised a plan to break in their campaign room every 15 minutes or so when a new contraction would start.

But when candidate speeches began, Maye Quade’s contractions had intensified, and she was captured in a viral video speaking in between waves of pain. Maye Quade asked if her opponent would suspend delegate voting in time for her to go to the hospital, but the voting commenced. Maye Quade suspended the campaign before rushing to the hospital to birth her daughter (she has not yet decided whether she will run in the primary) . “While we were in awe of her strength, it was actually horrifying to watch a woman go through this vulnerable experience with nobody with the power to do so stepping in and putting an end to it,” Emma McBride, the political director of Women Winning, told the Washington Post. 

Sen. Julia Coleman (R-Waconia)

“If someone was like, ‘Hey, Erin had a heart attack.’ There’s no way that the people would have got up and said, ‘Well, we have to endorse by acclamation!’” added Maye Quade’s campaign manager Mitchell Walstad. “Definitely the feeling we got was like we have to prioritize politics over health because otherwise, we’re just … out of luck, you know? And that’s not a good system.”

Maye Quade and her baby are doing well, according to Fox 9.

One day later, Sen. Julia Coleman (R-Waconia), a mother of three young children, tweeted that the culture mothers have to contend with at the capitol needs to change. “I had another legislator ask me during a late-night meeting, ‘aren’t your babies at home crying for you?’ And have received passive-aggressive responses when explaining I need to be remote due to a sick child or child care emergency,” Coleman wrote, adding that children should be allowed on the Senate floor. “​​The Senate isn’t so prestigious that it has to force mothers into impossible situations when it comes to childcare.”

Source: The Washington PostAxios 

The Black Maternal Health Caucus pushes legislation to address disparities

During Black Maternal Health Week, congress’ Black Maternal Health Caucus discussed how they drew on the work of advocates and their own experiences to propel the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. Eight of its nine bills are included in the Build Back Better Act, which is currently stuck in gridlock. The bills aim to combat disparities by allocating funding to community-based programs that help pregnant people find affordable housing, expanding food stamp eligibility, and expanding Medicaid coverage for a year after childbirth nationwide. In April, Senator Cory Booker introduced Mamas First Act, which would expand Medicaid services to cover doulas and midwives. 

Caucus lawmakers are keenly aware that the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among industrialized countries, and since 2000, it has risen 60 percent. Lack of paid maternity leave, lack of comprehensive postpartum care, and racism within the health care system in the U.S. are contributing factors. 

Source: The Guardian

‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills aren’t new. They’ve just been revived.

At least 20 states have introduced “Don’t Say Gay” laws in 2022, restricting public school teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ history or people in elementary schools.

“A year ago, “Don’t Say Gay” laws that had passed in the 1980s were considered archaic, LGBTQ+ advocates said, with many of them repealed over the years,” writes 19th News reporter Kate Sosin. “After marriage equality became the law of the land in 2015, seven states passed laws mandating that curriculums include LGBTQ+ history and life.”

“Advocates say that the current push for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills is political. Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, has claimed that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to push the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida is less about kids and more about the Republican’s presidential ambitions.”

Source: The 19th