At least 50 lawmakers from both parties are backing a House bill to increase the length of maternity leave for women in the military from six to 12 weeks.
The legislation, known as the Military Opportunities for Mothers (MOM) Act, would bring the military in line with federal guidelines for female civilian federal workers established through the Family and Medical Leave Act. Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) sponsored the new measure.
“Mothers in the military inevitably face separation from their children when they are deployed and serving our nation around the globe,” Duckworth said in a joint statement with Noem. “Extending maternity leave for these women is the least we can do for those who sacrifice so much for our country.”
Duckworth is a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot who lost both of her legs and damaged her right arm while serving in Iraq. Below is a video of her remarks about the bill on the House floor last week.
Noem said military moms face an especially hard time separating from children. “For working moms, going back to work after having a child is one of the most difficult days,” she said. “But when you put on fatigues instead of a business suit and return to a military base halfway around the world instead of an office around the corner, that day can be even more difficult.”