Portland is reportedly the first city in the United States to offer public employees paid time off following an abortion, according to a policy change from its City Council.
The City Council voted unanimously to approve Portland's bereavement leave protocol to allow city workers to utilize up to three days of paid bereavement leave if they have endured a miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of pregnancy.
Loss of pregnancy incorporates abortion "irrespective of whether deemed medically necessary," according to the City Council.
Bereavement leave policies that include loss of pregnancy due to a miscarriage or stillbirth are rare, and those that incorporate abortion are all but unheard of, said Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute.
"This is just incredibly uncommon," Nash said.
The City Council's effort to expand its bereavement policy began in 2020, according to a report.
At the time, a city official and member of the gay and transgender community alleged that many employed by the city did not feel they were recognized by the policy at the time, which only allowed individuals to take leave to mourn those they were related to by biology or marriage.
Pregnancy loss was introduced to be taken under consideration for the bereavement policy by Michelle Rodriguez, a senior policy adviser in Commissioner Mingus Mapps's office.
Rodriguez cited the story of an individual who had not accumulated any time off she could use to mourn her terminated pregnancy.
"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 said.
"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,'" she continued.
Portland's policy will allow any worker employed by the city to use bereavement leave if they are confronted with any sort of pregnancy loss or death of "any individual related by close affinity," according to city policy.
This relationship incorporates both unmarried partners and "any person with whom the employee has a significant personal bond that is like a familial relationship."
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Original Author: Luke Gentile
Original Location: Portland offers paid time off for city employees who have abortions