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Proposed legislation would provide paid leave for women who suffer a miscarriage

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — During her 2016 Senate campaign, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth says she suffered a miscarriage and returned to work the same day.

"It's unthinkable that after this news many are expected to just show up to work," says Duckworth.

She says she, like countless other women who've endured this loss, needed time to process and grieve. Which is why she's proposed a new law to give them that break.

"To require employers to provide at least three days of paid leave to process and address health needs following such devastating news," says Duckworth.

The measure also proposes time off for a failed adoption or surrogacy arrangement, or an unsuccessful fertility procedure or related medical diagnosis.

SwedishAmerican OBGYN Dr. Tim Durkee says it's not uncommon women need medical leave following a miscarriage to deal with depression and grief.

"It's a shame that it has to come to a law, you'd hope employers would understand that while it's a miscarriage, it's still a loss," says Durkee.

He thinks this proposal is a great start to give families that time and also prepare work places to be sensitive once a woman returns.

"If they keep asking the patient how the pregnancy is going, and they keep reliving the loss."

"It should definitely be longer," says The Haven Network Co-Executive Director Stephanie Grimm. "As someone who does this professionally and someone who's had to bury her own child, I would advocate most ardently for it to be longer but having at least three days is a wonderful start for families."

The Haven provides families with services following a miscarriage. Grimm says this proposed legislation brings the topic out of the darkness and into the light, ultimately making it easier for families to take the time they need.

"To regroup, to heal, to make arrangements for their children without the stress of keeping their job and having the money to keep up with medical and funeral bills," says Grimm.

Duckworth introduced the measure on Tuesday.

Mary Sugden

Mary Sugden is the Investigative Reporter at WREX. She joined the team in December 2014 as the evening producer. In 2015 she made the move to evening reporter before joining the 13 Investigates team in May of 2018.

She grew up in Woodstock, Illinois and graduated from Woodstock High School in 2009. Mary graduated with a degree in Journalism and Marketing from Loyola University Chicago in 2013.

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