LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A bill filed during Arkansas’ early legislative filing period would require companies that pay for abortion-related expenses to also fund paid maternity leave.
State Representative Aaron Pilkington sponsored the bill and said it is something he first thought about after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Pilkington said.
Companies that do not pay for abortion-related expenses, such as the procedure itself or travel, would be exempt from the maternity leave requirement.
“If you’re saying you’re willing to pay for those things, you should also be willing to pay for the other,” Pilkington said.
Democratic legislators said they think paid family leave is something lawmakers should push for. State Senator Greg Leding said he thinks it should not be limited to mothers.
“I’m not committing to voting for this, but it’s entirely possible I would vote for this policy,” Leding said. “At least it would put some form of maternity leave in place.”
Leding also said he thinks targeting some businesses for political reasons is concerning.
“When a company steps up and is able to provide support for their colleagues, in this case, it’s to leave the state to get healthcare they need, certainly I think that’s something we should applaud,” Leding said.
Pilkington said the motivation for the bill was to make Arkansas a good place to have a family.
“I want to become the best state in the nation to have a family,” Pilkington said.