A groundbreaking new Portland city council policy that provides bereavement leave for employees who undergo an abortion is an acknowledgment that the procedure involves a "tragic loss," a pro-life activist says.
Under the new policy, public employees can take up to three days of bereavement leave for an abortion "irrespective of whether deemed medically necessary," according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). It is believed to be the first policy of its kind in the nation.
Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, said she supports the policy and believes it could help destigmatize abortion. Portland's government is staunchly pro-choice.
"It's important to recognize that employees need time to address their reproductive health needs ... and they may need time to process what they're experiencing," Miller told OPB. "A policy like this is a really important step forward in providing that kind of support to employees and in recognition of the fact that we aren't just robots."
But Gabriel Vance, director of external affairs for the pro-life group Created Equal, said the policy is a tacit admission that a life was lost.
"What they are acknowledging is that abortion is a tragic loss – that somebody dies in an abortion. So if you're getting bereavement leave for an abortion, they are acknowledging that there is a loss of someone – that someone died," Vance said in a Facebook Live video on the Created Equal Facebook page.
"And who is that? That's the baby, who is a human being, who is a person. ... They're trying to normalize abortion, but in that, they're acknowledging that, like miscarriage, like stillbirth – that it's tragic."
The new policy applies to miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. Michelle Rodriguez, a senior policy advisor in Commissioner Mingus Mapps' office, said she spoke with an employee who had not accrued any time to take time off after a pregnancy loss.
"She essentially took days without pay to deal with both her physical reaction to what ended up being a medical termination with her doctor's help and the emotional and psychological impact of what happened," Rodriguez told OPB. "I'm like, 'OK, we need to figure out how to actually call this out and be proudly saying that this city wants to support families as they're going through this process.'"
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Fizkes
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.