Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), currently seven months pregnant and expected to deliver her second child in late April, will make history, being the first senator to give birth while in office. She gave birth to her first daughter, Abigail, while serving in the House of Representatives—the tenth representative to do so. By that time, the House had policies in place to deal with parental issues of House members.
Anna Palmer and Reena Flores of Politico interviewed Senator Duckworth for a recent episode of its Women Rule podcast. Senator Duckworth told Politico “I can’t technically take maternity leave because if I take maternity leave, then I won’t be allowed to sponsor legislation or vote during that time period.” She says that she’s working with her party’s leadership and her staff to figure out how she can still take important votes while she’s out.
There’s a more in-depth discussion of the issues facing a senator with child care needs in a Newsweek post by Marie Solis. “The lack of any sort of policy or accommodation for new mothers suggests that the U.S. Congress remains a bastion of patriarchy on its face,” Jennifer Lawless, the director of Women & Politics told Newsweek. [Read more…]