An Arkansas bill that passed the state House on Monday would require companies to provide paid maternity leave to new mothers if they also offer to pay for employees’ abortions or abortion travel expenses.
The lead sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Knoxville, said he wants to make sure families are being supported and to hold companies accountable if they choose to circumvent Arkansas laws that protect unborn babies from abortion.
“If companies want to truly support women they would offer them paid family leave not abortion. My bill requires them to offer [paid family leave] if they choose to offer abortion benefits,” Pilkington said.
On Monday, House Bill 1006 passed the Arkansas House in an 80-12 vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration. The bill requires companies to provide at least 12 weeks of paid maternity leave if they also offer to pay for their employees’ abortions and/or travel expenses to get abortions in other states.
The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Prior to the vote, Pilkington criticized the “blatant hypocrisy” of companies that “pay you to kill your child” but do not offer paid family leave, according to the Arkansas Advocate.
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“These companies that say they believe in choice, say they believe in a woman’s right to choose, it’s not true choice if you incentivize one and but not incentivize the other,” he said.
Only one lawmaker, state Rep. Andrew Collins, D-Little Rock, spoke against the bill.
Here’s more from the report:
“I think paid family leave is a great thing and companies should offer it as much as possible, and we as a government could incentivize companies to do it, but using it as a punishment is the wrong way to go about it,” Collins said.
Pilkington responded that a child being “torn limb by limb” from their mother’s womb is invasive.
Pilkington is also sponsoring several other bills pertaining to pregnancy and postpartum health care, including HB 1010, which would require Medicaid to cover postpartum mothers for a full year after giving birth.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, dozens of major companies like Disney, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods began offering abortion “benefits” to their employees. Often, they include paid time off, travel and lodging expenses for pregnant mothers who want abortions but live in states that protect unborn babies by banning elective abortions.
Some companies, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lyft and Hulu, already have been accused of pressuring pregnant employees toward abortions by not offering similar benefits for employees who choose life for their babies.
In September, the entertainment company Hulu was exposed cutting maternity and paternity leave while creating its new abortion travel benefit. Hulu is a subsidiary of Disney, which also pays for employees to travel to abort their unborn babies.
Major entertainment companies like Warner Brothers and Netflix and tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft also offer their employees money to travel to abort their unborn babies. The grocery store chains Giant Eagle and Kroger pay employees’ travel costs for abortions, too.
One legal expert predicted that these companies may face lawsuits in an interview with Reuters, and Bloomberg Law reports the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently launched an investigation into three of them.
Most companies couched their pro-abortion stance in terms of “health care,” claiming women need abortions to be healthy and free. But these companies are encouraging the elective, unnecessary killing of unborn babies in abortions through these new benefits.