John Malik
opinion

It Should Be a Woman’s Choice Whether or Not to Use a Surrogate

It Should Be a Woman’s Choice Whether or Not to Use a Surrogate
Believe
16
Women should not need a medical condition for surrogacy to be socially acceptable. If a woman doesn't want to carry her child, she shouldn't have to.
opinion
The typical view is that using a surrogate shouldn't be done unless necessary Most women using surrogates only do so for strictly medical reasons.
Surrogacy is often seen as a last resort option: something a woman chooses only when all of the other options have been exhausted. Especially for straight couples who do not need to use a surrogate, the choice can sometimes be viewed skeptically unless it's necessary for a mother's health. Surrogacy remains a relatively rare occurrence in the United States. Some estimates say that only about 5,000 children per year are born via a surrogate. Experts say there are about 10 common medical conditions that may cause a woman to choose surrogacy. Some of these health-related reasons include infertility, age, a need for certain medications, or pre-existing medical conditions such as a hysterectomy or uterine problems. Fertility issues, or multiple miscarriages, may also cause a woman to consider surrogacy. Failed IVF may also lead a couple to choose surrogacy instead.
4 believers
opinion
Pregnancy can be hard. From changes in the body and mind to changes in home life, pregnancy can be extremely difficult for many expecting mothers.
21 believers
For example, it's exhausting Pregnancy fatigue presents extreme physical exhaustion and can affect everything from a woman’s ability to work to her friendships and caregiving responsibilities
Growing a new human can be really tiring. "Pregnancy fatigue" is a real phenomenon where women, especially in the first and third trimesters, describe feeling tired all the time, almost to the point of exhaustion. According to the online source "What to Expect," nearly all women experience pregnancy fatigue while pregnant, especially in the first few months. Pregnancy fatigue can start as early as the first few weeks following conception and implantation. That first phase of fatigue tends to lift by the second trimester. But a second wave of fatigue tends to show up in the third trimester, or around week 28. Many women may again feel a bout of extreme tiredness, forcing them to take frequent naps and lay off their usual activities. Pregnancy fatigue is not simply a mental or emotional problem: it has a scientific basis. Pregnancy hormones cause a variety of changes in the body: from altered sleep patterns to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone that act as a "natural sedative." The fatigue can strongly limit women's ability to work, take care of other children, or just enjoy their normal activities.
15 believers
It's emotionally challenging The ups and downs caused by pregnancy hormones can have major negative effects on daily life.
Many women describe huge mood swings during pregnancy, as well as symptoms such as anxiety and even clinical depression. The range of emotions can be very challenging for pregnant women. The physical fatigue—coupled with the changes in hormones—can cause a woman to go from feelings of elation to weepiness almost instantly. Those feelings in turn can quickly turn to elation. "Pregnancy is a huge transition in a woman's life, and it involves a complex mix of emotions, both good and bad," Dr. Mary Kimmel, medical director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, told LiveScience. Anecdotal evidence supports this idea. One author described having a breakdown over a slice of cheese. "As my husband tried to calm me down, I got more hysterical, convinced that my dinner would be ruined and he just didn't understand what I was going through!" she described in an article for Parents magazine. The first trimester is often characterized by tears and forgetfulness—bouts of sobbing, or putting your keys in the fridge. The second trimester tends to be accompanied by extreme happiness and even an increased sex drive. By the third trimester, women can expect "crankiness and power-nesting," according to Parents magazine. That means irritability plus the desire to knit baby clothes and decorate the little one's new room.
10 believers
It can cause serious medical complications Some of those conditions risk both a mother's and her baby's health.
Being pregnant can cause a huge range of medical issues, from the annoying to the life-threatening. Still others threaten the health or even life of the baby. Many of the most common medical issues aren't serious but certainly aren't pleasant, including cramps, indigestion, heartburn, varicose veins, and a blocked nose. It can also cause more worrisome problems: being pregnant increases the risks of developing serious complications from influenza, for instance. More serious complications include anemia, high blood pressure, and certain kinds of placenta issues that may lead to bedrest or even premature delivery of the baby. Rare conditions in pregnant women, such as hyperemesis gravidarum, cause such intense vomiting that it can lead to women being hospitalized for dehydration. Both Kate Middleton and the comedian Amy Schumer were afflicted with hyperemesis. “It’s very miserable,” Dr. Amos Grunebaum, director of obstetrics at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told TODAY. “You feel like you can’t do your daily activities, and you really want to eat and you can’t, and hopefully you get treatment really quickly.” Other conditions can cause a risk not just to the mother's health but to the baby's as well. Gestational diabetes, where a mother's blood sugar levels are too high, can cause preeclampsia, early delivery, the need for a Cesearean birth, or a baby born with low blood sugar, breathing problems, and jaundice, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.
11 believers
Clothing changes can be costly and annoying Maternity wear is a billion-dollar industry.
For many women, shopping can be fun activity to pass the time. But buying a whole new wardrobe for just a few months can be both a financial burden and a nuisance. Maternity wear—even if it just seems like a few new pairs of jeans and some stretchy tops—can actually be hugely time-consuming. Maternity clothes are a $2 billion industry, according to some estimates. Fortune Magazine reported that the average woman spends $50-60 per month every month during their pregnancy—resulting in $500 overall. Other options are far more expensive. In recent years, a market for high-end maternity clothes—especially those that can be extended and worn after pregnancy—has reached an increasing audience. Take Hatch for instance, a maternity clothing line designed to be worn before, during and after pregnancy, as their website reads. “The idea that you only have five months to invest in a piece of clothing that you’re buying, it doesn’t allow you to have an emotional affair with that garment,” Hatch’s founder Ariane Goldman told Racked. Each item is meant to function "during a time where it’s really needed, but stays in your closet, and it lasts because it’s wanted.” Each Hatch piece reflects that longevity: they're priced at $200–$300 per garment. It's also wasteful: especially for women who only want to have one kid, or who don't have other women friends getting pregnant, those clothes may be destined for the landfill. Especially for working women who need to look professional, the costs add up when you can't just wear an oversized tee shirt to the office. And few workplaces defray the cost. One example to the contrary, however, is a tech start-up called Domo. They not only give expecting employees a $1,000 "baby bonus;" they give pregnant women an allotment that essentially accounts for a $2,000 maternity clothes shopping budget.
9 believers
opinion
Food planning for pregnancy requires time and money From pre-conception to after birth, sometimes changes to a woman's diet are necessary and require time, money and planning.
A proper diet during pregnancy is "critical to your baby’s growth and development," according to the American Pregnancy Association. Pregnant women need to make sure they're eating at least an additional 300 calories per day, including a balance of vegetables, grains, and proteins. That means thoughtfully planning and preparing meals, including shopping, chopping, and cooking. There are a huge amount of restrictions what women can eat when they're pregnant, such as raw fish, high-mercury fish, raw meat, shell fish, caffeine, soft cheeses, deli meat, among many other things. Especially for women on bedrest, or perhaps because of all of the restrictions on what pregnant women can eat, women may find themselves increasingly eating at home during pregnancy. And that means a skyrocketing grocery bill is just par for the course. Meal planning can be complicated, too. Trying to make sure to get a proper, balanced diet, all while avoiding certain foods, means more time spent planning, cooking, and cleaning. It can be so complicated that there are dozens of articles on the Internet devoted to pregnancy meal-planning. There are even those who encourage women to follow a strict diet while they're trying to conceive. That may mean several additional months of expensive, intricate meal planning. Prenatal vitamins can supplement this balanced eating, but some of the top-shelf ones are costly. One month of prenatal vitamins can cost as much as $60-$90.
10 believers
Childbirth is difficult It is one of the most challenging experiences women go through in their lives, and especially for women with preexisting medical conditions—it can cost them their life.
8 believers
The process itself is long, uncomfortable, and frightening It can last as long as several days.
For every story of easy child labor, there are ten horror stories to counteract it. Some women are in labor for multiple days before they give birth, only sleeping for a few minutes between contractions and chewing ice chips to stay hydrated. Even a natural birth without complications can involve excruciating pain and last for hours. For first-time mothers especially, the process tends to be extremely long and can involve intense pain even with medication. The first stage of labor, or early labor, involves contractions coming every 5–30 minutes. Many women describe the contractions feeling like intense menstrual cramps that can last up to 60 seconds. Some women say even the early contractions are far more painful than cramps, however. “I was told it would feel like very bad menstrual cramps, but that's not what it felt like to me. It was much more intense and it was almost all in my lower back. Every time a contraction would come, my lower back would slowly begin to seize up. It was kind of like the muscles inside were slowly twisting harder and harder until it became almost unbearable, and then it would slowly subside," one woman told Parents magazine. The second stage is active labor, where contractions come every 2–5 minutes and can be more intense and lasting longer. This phase can last upwards of eight hours. The average first-time mother spends upwards of six hours in active labor, according to a recent federal study. From there is delivery, when the cervix is dilated 10 centimeters. This is when a woman starts to actively push to deliver the child. It can last as short as a few minutes or take several hours of excruciating pain. “Pushing was the worst. I could feel every stretch, pull, and tear. The burning was like no other. I remember feeling there was no way I could push the baby out, it won't fit,” one woman told Parents magazine.
3 believers
Complications during childbirth can be life-threatening or debilitating Occurrences of serious complications during childbirth are rising in the U.S. and can threaten the lives of both mother and child.
Bacteria that are typically active in the vagina before pregnancy can cause an infection in open wounds after a mother delivers her baby. This bacteria can affect the uterus and areas around the uterus. There is typically a low chance of developing these infections unless the woman is young and there is an unscheduled cesarean, or a long delivery with excessive bleeding. About one in three women deliver their babies via C-section. Of those women, as many as 18% will go on to develop chronic pain from the scar tissue resulting from that surgery. One young mother lost nearly half her body's blood during her c-section. After a week in the hospital, she thought the worst was over, but she went on to develop chronic pain around the scar tissue where the incision was made. Common complications during childbirth include perineal tears (when the area between the vagina and the anus tears or is surgically cut), excessive bleeding, perinatal asphyxia (when the child does not get enough oxygen), and abnormal heart rate of the baby. Many of these conditions also go unmonitored after childbirth because women are so focused on their child's health that they neglect their own. One study found that as many as 40% of women don't go to their own doctor's appointment check-up after giving birth. Kristen Terlizzi, who cofounded the National Accreta Foundation, had her uterus, appendix, and part of her bladder removed in 2014 because of a life-threatening placenta condition. “There’s this misconception that these complications are rare,” she told ProPublica. “And we [women] get brushed off — ‘The risk is not a big deal.’ But it is.” A 2017 investigation from ProPublica found that serious complications during childbirth in the U.S. were "skyrocketing." More than 50,000 women suffer severe complications each year—a number that has doubled since the 1990s. Women who survive severe complications often deal with long-term consequences such as severe pain, the inability to give birth again, and intense trauma. Emergency hysterectomies, for instance, have risen 60%. Not only is a hysterectomy an invasive surgery with a potentially long recovery time, but it renders women unable to get pregnant again. In 2014 alone, doctors in the U.S. had to carry out 4,000 emergency hysterectomies.
3 believers
Pregnancy and childbirth can cause lingering health issues From postpartum depression to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, complications can be severe and long-term.
4 believers
Those complications can be mental and emotional Complications from pregnancy and childbirth can have extraordinary mental and emotional effects on the mother, many which go undiagnosed.
Having a baby can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling new challenges. Alongside the late-night feedings and diaper changes, however, many women have to deal with mental health problems that their husbands do not. The "baby blues," where women experience bouts of crying and sadness in the week following childbirth, affects at least half of all mothers. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 50–75% of women experience these symptoms. Up to 15% of those women will develop full-blown postpartum depression, with symptoms such as frequent crying, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. Those symptoms can last from a few weeks up to a full year. Part of what can be challenging about treating PPD is that it presents differently in different women. For some new mothers, it’s an intense anxiety about failing their new child, while for others it has more of the hallmarks of traditional, clinical depression (such as a lack of interest in usual activities and feelings of sadness). About 400,000 to 800,000 mothers in the U.S. suffer annually from PPD, though that number may be an underestimation. One study found that up to 50% of cases of PPD will go undiagnosed. Undiagnosed PPD affects women of color disproportionately. Only a single drug has been developed and approved to treat PPD in the U.S. Women are often treated with anti-depressants or talk therapy. Left untreated, PPD can greatly reduce a woman’s quality of life—and sometimes even end in suicide. And a new study found that women who experienced postpartum depression for several months were at a heightened risk of developing long-term, clinical depression that lingered for years. The researchers also found that a mother's depression could have negative effects on her kids: the children of women who suffered from this kind of prolonged depression were twice as likely to have behavioral problems as the children of women who did not.
3 believers
They can also be physical and even life-threatening This can temporarily affect a mother’s lifestyle or responsibilities or permanently impact her physical health and well-being.
4 believers
Mothers can be placed on bed rest This reduces a woman's ability to work, care for other children, or even complete basic tasks.
Being placed on bed rest is a common occurrence during pregnancy and can result from a variety of conditions. High blood pressure, cervical changes, vaginal bleeding, premature labor, poor fetal development, gestational diabetes, and placenta complications are just a few of the conditions that may lead to a woman being placed on bed rest for as long as several months. Bed rest is prescribed to thousands of women each year. Its severity can range from simply taking it easy to literally limiting women to their beds for months on end. Depending on her job or her ability to work from home or take time off, this could result in lost hours—or, for hourly workers, lost income. For women who already have other children, childcare can be costly or extremely difficult. One woman, for instance, was put on bed rest for several months when she already had a 3-year-old daughter. Her husband was forced to quit his full-time job in order to take care of them both. Confined to the couch or the bed, the woman told NPR: "I wouldn't even get my own glasses of water. So I like to say that 'I was on bed rest, and he was on house arrest,' because he really couldn't leave either."
2 believers
Wounds can become infected, and other complications can be severe. Occurrences of serious complications during childbirth are rising in the U.S. and can threaten the lives of both mother and child.
Bacteria that are typically active in the vagina before pregnancy can cause an infection in open wounds after a mother delivers her baby. This bacteria can affect the uterus and areas around the uterus. There is typically a low chance of developing these infections unless the woman is young and there is an unscheduled cesarean, or a long delivery with excessive bleeding. About one in three women deliver their babies via C-section. Of those women, as many as 18% will go on to develop chronic pain from the scar tissue resulting from that surgery. One young mother lost nearly half her body's blood during her c-section. After a week in the hospital, she thought the worst was over, but she went on to develop chronic pain around the scar tissue where the incision was made. Common complications during childbirth include perineal tears (when the area between the vagina and the anus tears or is surgically cut), excessive bleeding, perinatal asphyxia (when the child does not get enough oxygen), and abnormal heart rate of the baby. Many of these conditions also go unmonitored after childbirth because women are so focused on their child's health that they neglect their own. One study found that as many as 40% of women don't go to their own doctor's appointment check-up after giving birth. Kristen Terlizzi, who cofounded the National Accreta Foundation, had her uterus, appendix, and part of her bladder removed in 2014 because of a life-threatening placenta condition. “There’s this misconception that these complications are rare,” she told ProPublica. “And we [women] get brushed off — ‘The risk is not a big deal.’ But it is.” A 2017 investigation from ProPublica found that serious complications during childbirth in the U.S. were "skyrocketing." More than 50,000 women suffer severe complications each year—a number that has doubled since the 1990s. Women who survive severe complications often deal with long-term consequences such as severe pain, the inability to give birth again, and intense trauma. Emergency hysterectomies, for instance, have risen 60%. Not only is a hysterectomy an invasive surgery with a potentially long recovery time, but it renders women unable to get pregnant again. In 2014 alone, doctors in the U.S. had to carry out 4,000 emergency hysterectomies.
3 believers
They can die The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country.
Kameleon007, iStock by Getty
In the United States, approximately 700 women die each year as a result of complications from child birth. This rate has been decreasing by approximately 38% annually over the last 20 years, but it remains high, especially for women of color. And the rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. is higher than that of any other industrialized country. Women are advised to monitor themselves post-childbirth for warning signs of blood clots, infections, and hemorrhage, which can be potentially life-threatening. Some of the complications during pregnancy and childbirth—such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes—put women at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke throughout the rest of their lives. "Both of these conditions are associated with basically a doubling in their lifelong risk for cardiovascular disease," Dr. Lisa Hollier, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told NPR. Severe complications—such as kidney, heart, or liver failure; bleeding in the brain or long-term comas—can also be fatal for mothers.
2 believers
opinion
Both pregnancy and maternity leave can greatly interfere with work They are time-consuming and challenging—and may result in permanent consequences for a woman's career.
4 believers
Doctor's appointments during pregnancy can be frequent and time-consuming With upwards of a dozen appointments, the time lost can have long-term effects on a woman's goals.
In order to ensure proper prenatal development, doctors urge expecting mothers to come in for frequent visits, especially during the second and third trimesters. Toward the end of the pregnancy, the frequency of visits increases to once every two weeks and then once every week in the final months. Women with high risk pregnancies—such as geriatric pregnancies or pre-existing conditions—may have to attend even more frequent doctors appointments. Women can expect to see their doctor more than a dozen times during their pregnancy. For working women, this schedule can be extremely disruptive. Factoring in travel from work to the doctor's office and back, plus wait times, and the actual appointment itself, women are forced to lose 2-3 hours of their work day for a doctor's appointment. This problem is magnified for women who live in rural areas or working-class women—two groups who have less choice over where and when their doctors appointments are. That can also mean longer transportation times which in turn means more life disruptions. This loss of time, especially at high-pressure jobs, can be hard to catch up on. It may allow other colleagues to advance or to take on additional clients.
2 believers
Even a short maternity leave can have negative work consequences The law doesn't always protect pregnant women from losing their jobs.
IStock.com/Pekic
While an employer is not allowed to legally fire someone simply for taking maternity leave, many employers seem to find loopholes to do just that. Just this summer a former SoulCycle employee sued the company, claiming she was fired for taking maternity leave. Jordan Kafenbaum, the former senior director of instructor programming and talent management of SoulCycle, says she was fired just 32 days after giving birth. In her lawsuit she described her termination as “blatant pregnancy discrimination and retaliation.” Her case is just one of many similar ones that happen all the time, at companies both big and small. Another case from this month alone occurred where a woman claims she was fired from her job at Ramsey Solutions in Tennessee simply for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Even for those women who are not outright fired, many return to an office where colleagues have taken over some of their responsibilities or clients. Research found that some women who take maternity leave may even find it harder to advance or get promoted after they return. Especially in high-powered jobs where the pace of work moves quickly, even a short few weeks out of the office can put women too far behind their male counterparts.
2 believers
opinion
With surrogacy, the impact on work becomes similar to what a man might experience Women don't experience changes to their bodies as a result of the pregnancy and can continue working in the same capacity.
Surrogacy allows women to experience pregnancy in much the same way a male partner might. Because the women who choose to use a surrogate have no impact on their own bodies, they can continue doing the exact same activities without much interruption. Women can continue working or enjoying their usual activities without the fatigue, physical changes, and hormonal mood swings that occur. Without the physical toll of pregnancy, the disruptions are minimized. While both partners might attend some of the more crucial doctors appointments, they don't need to be present for every single one. That fact alone frees up hours of time over the course of nine months (or more, if you include postnatal visits). Both this physical freedom and freedom of time can begin to level the playing field between men and women at work. This is all the more important given the usual timing of pregnancies—when women are in their late 20s and early 30s—at a crucial point in building their future careers.
5 believers
opinion
It’s not fair that women should carry pregnancies when men are simply free of it This burden creates more gender disparity—but that inequality can be mitigated.
3 believers
Gender may be a social construct, but biological sex is not a choice The X and Y chromosomes determine biological sex.
Of humans' 46 paired chromosomes, the X and Y chromosomes determine biological sex. While there are some exceptions, the vast majority of women are 46XX, and most men are 46XY. The Y chromosome induces the male phenotype long before birth. Women therefore do not choose to have the sexual organs that allow for pregnancy, and that one fact can alter the course of their lives. That lack of choice creates myriad other limitations on their future choices and their ability to fully control what they want to do with their lives. In that way, biological sex causes a lack of agency for women. That means that about half the population—several billion people—are limited by their biological sex, without having any control over it. That fact alone is unfair. Gender may be increasingly fluid, but the biological organs required for pregnancy remain limited in this way.
3 believers
opinion
It's worth trying to level the playing field for everyone. Making an effort to make the world more equal promotes better opportunities—and increased income—for people who are marginalized in some way. And that is an important goal. Especially in a world of mounting wage inequality.
3 believers
opinion
Physical, genetic, and accidental circumstances help create inequalities For those affected, these circumstances make life and work more challenging. They can even reduce basic, daily functioning.
4 believers
Genetic diseases can reduce quality of life and work ability That can affect someone's mental and physical capacities. It can also put strain on their mental health.
Genetic disorders, for instance, can both reduce a person's quality of life and result in limited work opportunities. Disorders with a genetic component such as autism or ADHD can make it more difficult for employees to work with colleagues or focus on a task. Physical genetic disorders, such as muscular dystrophy, may result in reduced mobility which can affect both manual labor jobs and office jobs (someone with MD, for instance, might not be able to access a building that doesn't meet ADA standards). According to results from the Human Genome project—which sequenced the DNA of thousands of people—there are over 6,000 genetic diseases. Of those, 10 are the most common. Those include cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, fragile x syndrome, hemophilia, Huntington’s disease, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, tay-sachs, and Angelman syndrome. Many of these disorders lead to physical and/or mental challenges. Those can in turn affect both someone’s ability to work and their quality of life.
1 believer
Even ordinary accidents can have long-term effects on individual agency Millions of daily injuries can determine people's future. Even mundane accidents can exert a lifetime of consequences.
Ordinary accidents—from falls to car accidents—can reduce a person's capabilities. Car accidents alone, for instance, are a significant factor. Each year in the U.S., there are about 6 million car accidents. Of those, 2 million drivers will experience permanent injuries as a result. Other types of injuries such as tripping, spraining an ankle, or being injured by a falling object are in fact very common. There are a slew of workplace injuries, from violence between employees to strained muscles that can reduce mobility over time. Depending on the circumstances from the injury, an employee may or may not be eligible for workers' compensation. Victims of accidents may see reduced mobility and a need for extra help for things they once did on their own. This in turn can ripple out, creating fewer opportunities professionally and socially.
1 believer
Military injuries can put people at a disadvantage Mental trauma and physical damage are common. And pregnant women in the armed forces have limited opportunities for advancement.
Military injuries—including psychological trauma—are extremely prevalent among the armed forces. The Army describes the problem of military injuries as an "epidemic." According to a recent report, the rate of injury is 2,500 per every 1,000 soldiers. This means that the average American serving in the Army will endure at least two musculoskeletal injuries. This figure includes injuries sustained both on missions and from Army garrisons. As many as 20% of all veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Persistent flashbacks, moodiness, or anxiety caused by PTSD can prevent veterans from functioning or working normally. Specifically for women, military sexual trauma and other issues can cause permanent damage. Some 23% of female veterans report being sexually assaulted, and 55% report being sexually harassed, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. Getting pregnant in the Army also means you can't be deployed and can be honorably discharged. When a woman becomes pregnant in the army she has two choices: either leave the military under an honorable discharge, or become non-deployable while she's pregnant. She is not allowed to handle chemicals or firearms, for instance. This renders female members of the military helpless to continue service similar to their male counterparts and sets them back in their military career. While some states like Washington are working to change their policies so pregnant members have more options, it's a pervasive problem that has yet to be addressed.
1 believer
But there are ways of mitigating inequality Laws and policies can help marginalized people rise up. They slowly help level the playing field.
IStock.com/PeopleImages
4 believers
Affirmative action procedures are in place Both in the private and public sector, these policies look to level disadvantages. Despite criticisms, these programs can be very effective.
The United States has an affirmative action policy that must be upheld by all contractors and sub-contractors working on behalf of the federal government. It says that, "affirmative action must be taken by covered employers to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps." Other types of affirmative action—both at schools and in private workplaces—work to mitigate the marginalization of people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQ+ people. Affirmative action began under President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s. The idea was that fighting against discrimination was not enough; the government had to actively do something to create a more equal world. Those policies can play out in terms of quotas for certain marginalized groups, or it can simply mean taking into account a person's identity when making hiring choices. Affirmative action is sometimes criticized by white conservatives who claim that qualified white candidates lose out because of these policies. There is little evidence to support that, according to experts. “There is very little hard evidence to prove that a minority hire almost always took place at the expense of a better-qualified white person,” law professor Melvin Urofsky, author of “The Affirmative Action Puzzle,” told the New Yorker.
2 believers
U.S. labor laws have been in place for 100 years Women-specific labor policies have existed for just as long and, together with labor laws, have helped reduce inequality and protect the working population.
For over the past century, the U.S. has had a labor department, meant to guide policies and legislation for workers. Labor activists in the first decades of the 20th century fought for such rights as sick pay, vacation days, and benefits for injured workers. By the 1930s, the secretary of labor would establish the five-day work week, paving the way for other progressive reforms. The United States Department of Labor has had a Women's Bureau for 100 years. The first law was passed 100 years ago and gave the bureau the right to "formulate standards and policies which shall promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment.” During and after the Great Depression, labor protections were hugely expanded, establishing unemployment benefits, social security, and a federal minimum wage. The New Deal was designed primarily by a woman, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. The protections established throughout the 20th century were designed to reduce inequalities and to protect workers—of all identities—from being exploited.
2 believers
opinion
And that can improve the livelihoods of those affected greatly Both in the short- and long-term, these efforts show major pay-offs. And those effects trickle down through future generations.
IStock.com/vgajic
5 believers
Better access to education and jobs are the key to higher income and a better quality of life Increased earnings can enrich future generations. And that kind of wealth starts to level the playing field over time.
The more chances someone has at something, the higher probability they have to learn from mistakes and ultimately become successful at it. Therefore, giving people more opportunities to be hired for a job gives them more chances to get hired. Once they're hired, they can do a good job, work their way up, and continue to earn a great wage. That in turn can create generational wealth, setting up their children and grandchildren to earn more than they did. Affirmative action and labor laws allow people to get a foot in the door to these better opportunities. One study found that U.S. university students admitted thanks to affirmative action went on to earn a higher salaries thanks to this policy. A similar trend can be seen among people with disabilities. While people who are differently abled remain among the highest groups of the unemployed, studies have measured the positive effects of the passage of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). While the economic benefits of the ADA require further research, one study found that since 1990 when the ADA was first passed, income poverty among people with disabilities has declined.
3 believers
More wealth leads to better health and access to healthcare Socioeconomic status and well-being are interwoven. Without financial stability, total health is not possible.
Having the time to focus on eating right, reducing stress, and getting exercise gives people an overall better quality of life. Studies have found that a higher income correlates to better overall well-being. Or, as the American Psychological Association puts it: "wealth secures health." That's because having a low income correlates with a lower ability to buy nutritional food, or to have the time or money to exercise. It's also psychological: struggling to make ends meet every month puts a mental strain on people that actually damages their physical health. A whole host of factors can affect someone's socioeconomic class and their resulting health, from their gender and sexual orientation, to their ethnicity. "We've often chosen to focus on either ethnicity or class rather than on the interaction between the two," said Hector F. Myers, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. "We've become a lot more sophisticated in our thinking recently."
3 believers
opinion
Having children can be a key life goal for many people A life without a family of their own can feel incomplete.
3 believers
They can bring immense happiness Especially under the right conditions, children improve not only overall happiness but also fulfillment.
Recent studies have shown that people with children report being happier overall than those without children. However, parents in some countries are happier than others. The key is the social policies put in place by each country. If the policies help parents manage the responsibility of childcare with the ability to earn an income, then parents will be happier. American parents tend to be less happy than their English or Australian counterparts, one study found. In countries such as Norway for instance, parents reported higher happiness than non-parents—perhaps because of a strong social safety net that eases the burden of child-rearing. Children can be challenging and time-consuming, but most parents out there say they are worth the sacrifice. Seeing a child grow and engage with the world can bring back a parent's sense of childlike wonder, allowing them to view the world with new eyes.
2 believers
Parents grow emotionally from raising children The challenges can turn into rewarding opportunities for growth and appreciation.
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There are many new experiences people encounter after having children. And some people will develop new skills and insights as a result that can be applied to other aspects of their lives. For example, being a parent can teach people to have more patience with others, to communicate more simply, and to value present moments over focusing on the past or the future. Other parents report being more forgiving and being able to discern the petty from the truly important. Having children forces people to prioritize—managing their time differently than ever before and only making time for the most important things. Others say they feel more grateful and thankful for the small pleasures in daily life. Some say they even feel more grateful for their own parents after having children of their own. "Becoming a mother has been one of the biggest blessings in my life," wrote one mother. "Being a mother is by far the most challenging but most rewarding job I’ve ever had."
3 believers
The stigma surrounding using a surrogate should be questioned: pregnancy, childbirth and maternity leave are a huge physical and emotional burden. With surrogacy, more women can experience the joys of having children without dealing with all of the professional, physical, and mental challenges that go along with pregnancy and childbirth.
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