Paid Family Leave: Catholic Principles, Bipartisan Concensus, by Jane Clark Scharl

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By Jane Clark Scharl, Crisis Magazine, January 29, 2020

Jane Clark Scharl is a senior contributor at Crisis. Her work has previously appeared in National ReviewThe American Conservative, and The Intercollegiate Review.


Jane Clark ScharlIn the midst of some of the most divided, rancorous politics America has ever seen, there is one area of intriguing bipartisan agreement: paid family leave. What in the past has been decried by the Right as socialism and by the Left as unnecessary has, in the past few years, become an unexpected rallying point for lawmakers and culture leaders from opposite ends of the political spectrum. The issue has generated enough momentum that this just may be the year it becomes a reality.

This widespread interest in helping families is excellent news for Catholics, parents, and society as a whole. The reality is that people in America are not having babies—at least, not at the rate necessary to replace ourselves. The fertility rate in America has been declining for decades. The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2018 (the most recent year with data), fewer babies were born than at any time since 1986. Even more alarming, fertility (the number of babies born per woman) reached its lowest recorded levels.  ….

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