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Protecting Our Communities

Throughout Florida, we can already observe disparities in access to common contraception and childcare services. This is even further limited for low-income families and those without health insurance coverage, who may not be able to afford to make it to a health center, let alone receive proper care.

Helping Children

 Without ample contact with parental or familial figures, infants and children are often at much higher risk for behavior, social, and emotional abnormalities later in life.

Reproductive Services

We Can:

  • Provide necessary services to mothers

  • End workplace discrimination against pregnant employees

  • Protect the future of our children

Abortions are a necessary human right and an essential aspect of healthcare. They were once a standard facet of reproductive health care across the country but have now been left to the discretion of each individual state.[1]

Throughout Florida, we can already observe disparities in access to common contraception and childcare services. This is even further limited for low-income families and those without health insurance coverage, who may not be able to afford to receive proper care.[2]

 

Childcare

As prices continue to steadily increase, parents are becoming more concerned over the cost of necessary products and other expenses for the well-being of their children. More parents now than ever are finding themselves in financial hardship over the need to take care of their children.[3] Having to face such crises everyday forces them to cut vital corners in their livelihood to compensate. The average annual cost per child is now over $10,000.[4] Floridian families should not have to choose between providing sufficient care for their children and jeopardizing other essential parts of their lives.

 

Maternity Leave Protections

Maternity leave, though being a vital necessity for parents and their newborn children, is not universally guaranteed throughout the United States through methods other than Family Leave policies.[5] In comparison to neighboring nations, the United States is one of only a few developed nations to not have paid maternity leave available as standard protection to employed citizens. This leaves many families in need of having to work to survive to spend less time with their new family.

 

Newborn infants—who rely on their parents for physiological and psychological development—cannot afford to lose time with their parents in the earliest stages of life. Without ample contact with parental or familial figures, infants and children are often at much higher risk for behavior, social, and emotional abnormalities later in life.[6]

 

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/06/24/1107126432/abortion-bans-supreme-court-roe-v-wade

[2] https://powertodecide.org/what-we-do/information/resource-library/contraceptive-access-florida

[3] https://www.care.com/c/how-much-does-child-care-cost/

[4] https://www.childcareaware.org/demanding-change-repairing-our-child-care-system/

[5] https://www.oah.org/tah/issues/2016/november/the-history-of-family-leave-policies-in-the-united-states/

[6] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/infant-touch/

Education

So, What Can We Do?!

Childcare

Chapter 570 of the Florida Statutes state that ifpublic health, safety, or welfare is endangered or is likely to be endangered by any consumer product or service, to commence legal proceedings in circuit court to enjoin the act or practice or the sale of the product or service and may seek appropriate relief on behalf of consumers.”

 

The Commissioner can push for lower prices of childcare services. As it is the duty of the Agriculture Commissioner to keep consumers safe, it is critical for the Commissioner to be an advocate for the marginalized communities of Florida.[1]

Maternity Services 

Expecting and new parents may be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act, whether paid or unpaid. Pregnant employees are protected from discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. However, unlike other states with more maternity leave laws, Florida does not provide additional protections.[2]

 

In Florida, we continue to see a pattern of neglect by employers who discriminate and punish employees due to their pregnancy.

 

The Commissioner of Agriculture is the only position that has the authority to end this discrimination. Under Chapter 570, Section 37 of the Florida statutes, the Commissioner is granted the ability to legally pursue employers who violate the Pregnancy Discrimination and Family Medical Leave Acts.

 

Florida lacks laws requiring employers to offer a parental leave of any kind. A parental leave program, through whatever means a family may choose to include a new child, should be implemented for the betterment of the family and their efforts to bond and provide care.

 

In Maryland, parents are entitled to 60 days of paid leave to bond or care for their children, regardless of part/full-time status and despite their eligibility for Family and Medical Leave.[3] The Commissioner has the power to implement a similar policy in Florida. This would be a beneficial first step in closing the gap between new families of lower income, who may not be able to afford to take an unpaid leave over caring for a new infant or child.

 

[1] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0500-0599/0570/Sections/0570.07.html

[2] https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/disability/disability-rights/maternity-leave-rights-in-florida#:~:text=BackNext-,Family%20and%20Medical%20Leave,bond%20with%20a%20new%20child.

[3] https://www.courts.state.md.us/sites/default/files/import/hr/forms_brochures/parentalleavefactsheet.pdf

Ending Workplace Discrimination

The Commissioner of Agriculture is the only position that has the authority to end workplace discrimination. Under Chapter 570, Section 37 of the Florida statutes, the Commissioner is granted the ability to legally pursue employers who violate the Pregnancy Discrimination and Family Medical Leave Acts.

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