Our Bureau
South Queens, NY

On Tuesday, January 31, on the Million Dollar Staircase in the New York State Capitol, Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-AD 38) convened dozens of advocates to call for passage of her landmark bill to support women who suffer a stillbirth. This legislation will add a stillbirth as a qualifying event for Paid Family Leave in New York State, entitling parents to 12 weeks of paid leave from work with employment protection.

Occurring 65 times in the United States each day, a stillbirth is the loss of a pregnancy on or after 20 weeks. It requires a course of medical treatment similar to that of a live birth. The experience can be incredibly traumatic for parents, putting them at high risk for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Under current New York State law, families are entitled to paid leave following the birth of a child, but not in the event of a stillbirth. Assemblywoman Rajkumar’s bill will correct this inequity by extending Paid Family Leave to all women who give birth, no matter the outcome of the pregnancy.

Assemblywoman Rajkumar said, “All women who give birth should have paid time off. Make no mistake: women who experienced a stillbirth gave birth, and their bodies went through the birthing process. Their babies were real. Though their precious babies did not survive the birth, their mothers did and their mothers’ bodies need the time to recover just like all women need after a pregnancy. The mother of a stillbirth child also needs the time to grieve the loss of her baby. These women deserve to be seen and to be included in the Paid Family Leave law of our state.”

Joining Assemblywoman Rajkumar were representatives from PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, a national coalition of parents, healthcare providers, and allies committed to ending preventable stillbirths.

The Assemblywoman announced her legislation last month in a press conference with PUSH Pregnancy. Video of her speech in its entirety is available at At the announcement, parents discussed their personal experiences with stillbirths. They described heart-breaking ordeals of suffering incredible grief while simultaneously facing job termination threats, lost income, mounting debt, and legal battles.

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