Sunday, March 27, 2005

Family Values? Culture of Life? Try Sweden, or Canada, or Cuba, or ..

For a number of years now, Sweden has been working on the project of improving men’s parenting. Despite the generous paid family leave policy, there is still room for improvement in the number of men who actually take time off from work to spend time with a newborn or a newly adopted child.

Sweden offers a year of paid leave to new parents. The compensation is 80% of salaries. With a view to encouraging men to spend more time with children, the Swedes are considering an “equality bonus,” which would bump the compensation up to 90% of salaries. The bonus would be available to families in which moms and dads split the parental leave equally.

There are only six nations in the world that do not mandate some form of paid family leave. The U.S. is one of six, and as we all know, it is the only industrialized nation without a policy of healthcare for all. And then there's childcare. Forgive me for not providing a link, but I can tell you that there are so-called third world countries that do better than us in the childcare department. In many parts of the world, the idea of sending women to work without providing a safe place for her children is simply unacceptable.

In the absence of such family supportive policies, it’s no wonder our infant mortality rate is not as good as Canada’s, or Cuba’s, or China’s. Little wonder that there are 41 countries in which babies have a better chance of surviving their first year of life than in the U.S. If we can’t afford to take care of our babies, it’s sure not because we’re spending the money on their mothers. American “women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth” than are women in Europe.”

If we could catch up to Cuba, we'd have 2,212 more American babies a year. If we could catch up to Singapore, we’d have 18,900 more babies a year.

Family values? Culture of life?

This is a culture of life:

It is hereby declared that the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers. Canadian Health Act

Oh well, at least our lawmakers are hard at work protecting marriage from gays. Too bad if all those gay people who are raising children can't offer their kids the benefits of marriage.

At least our lawmakers have succeeded in forcing poor women to carry pregnacies to term. Too bad if so many of their babies die before the age of one.

Bin Laden can sit back and wait. Our leaders are going to bring this county down all by themselves.