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Press Release

 
The New York Chapter of the
March of Dimes and
the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists, District II (New York)


Applaud Assemblywoman Gunther, Senator Hannon,
and the New York State
Legislature for protecting pregnant women
and their families in the workplace
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Contact: Caitlin Goss, MOD - 518-410-3261
Contact: Donna Montalto, ACOG District II - 518-436-3461
 
Albany, NY - May 5, 2015 - Today the New York State Senate and Assembly protected the health of women and their families by passing S.8 (Hannon)/A.791 (Gunther), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions. The March of Dimes and ACOG District II commend Senator Kemp Hannon and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for sponsoring this critical legislation and leading the fight to ensure that women have healthy pregnancies, without compromising their families’ economic stability. 

The legislation requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers on the job, thereby protecting healthy pregnancies. Over the past thirty years, the number of working women who have children under age 3 has almost doubled, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Pew Research Center notes that mothers have become the sole or primary provider in 4 of 10 households with children. This helps to explain why, according to the US Census Bureau, 88% of first-time mothers who worked while pregnant worked into their last two months of pregnancy, and 82% worked into their last month of pregnancy and then return to work within three months after giving birth.

“This legislation represents a vital step forward in promoting healthy pregnancies and healthy babies for all working women in our state,” stated March of Dimes New York Chapter Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs Caitlin Goss. “The March of Dimes is grateful to Senator Hannon and Assemblywoman Gunther for championing this important initiative to promote maternal and child health.”

Employers play an important role in supporting their pregnant employees in having healthy pregnancies. Women who work under stressful and dangerous conditions can jeopardize their own health and the health of their pregnancy through an increased risk of miscarriage, severe hypertension (high blood pressure), preterm labor, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Severe hypertension (high blood pressure) has been identified as one of the three leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity by ACOG District II’s Safe Motherhood Initiative.

Pregnancy-related conditions that may require a reasonable accommodation include gestational diabetes, urinary tract infections and dehydration. Accommodating pregnancy-related conditions can be as simple as providing a stool for a pregnant employee who stands for long periods, allowing a pregnant employee to carry a water bottle and take additional bathroom breaks.

“Minor job modifications for pregnant women are a necessity in the workplace,” stated Donna Montalto, MPP, Executive Director of ACOG District II. “At some point in their pregnancies, women—especially those in physically strenuous jobs—may face a conflict between their duties at work and the demands of pregnancy. ACOG District II greatly appreciates the leadership, dedication and perseverance of Senator Hannon and Assemblywoman Gunther and the entire legislature for supporting the women of New York State.”

Healthy pregnancies are also good business. According to the Center for American Progress, the cost of replacing an employee is typically about one-fifth of an employee’s salary, and the cost increases for more-skilled and higher-salaried positions. Health insurance claims related to prematurity and complicated births in the United States cost employers more than $12 billion annually. The March of Dimes estimates that New York State alone could realize annual savings of up to $1 billion by preventing premature birth.

As organizations focused on ensuring women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, the March of Dimes and ACOG District II urge Governor Cuomo to sign this legislation into law.
 
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The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose volunteers and staff work to improve the health of infants and children by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II (ACOG) represents over 4,000 members who deliver health care to New York's women. Our Albany office offers its resources as a scientific and educational organization dedicated to quality health care for women. Our commitment to professional excellence, combined with our choice to be a strong public advocate for New York women, has made District II one of the state's most trusted and credible voices on all aspects of health care for women. For more information contact our office at 518-436-3461and visit our website at www.acogny.org

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998