To be pro-life is to take a holistic view of the value of human life and to promote those institutions, like the family, which are critical for human flourishing. That’s why, in addition to fighting to protect unborn life, we work hard to encourage adoption for kids who need a mom and a dad. This year in the Virginia General Assembly, we have an opportunity to do that in a unique way. 

Senate Bill 1412, patroned by Senator Dave Suetterlein (R-19, Roanoke), creates a new classification of paid leave for a state employee who adopts an infant under a year old. Currently, mothers who give birth to a child are offered paid maternity leave by their state employer, but parents who adopt a newborn child don’t receive that benefit. If this bill is signed into law – and it looks like it will be – then adoptive parents employed by the state will also be able to take that time to bond with their new baby in the same way as natural parents can.

This is a good and pro-life public policy because the Commonwealth of Virginia is saying ‘we are going to value and encourage adoption.’ It’s also good public policy because it seeks to treat new parents equitably, recognizing the critical nature of the first few weeks together between an infant child and his or her parents. Encouraging adoption is also good fiscal policy when considering the cost to the state in the long run for the care of each child until adulthood.

Meanwhile, the more we can promote and facilitate adoption, the more we can take away incentives for abortions. What if every woman who wasn’t ready for a child knew that there was someone waiting who was? Probably more would choose life. And just maybe, with the help of this new law, more people will choose adoption.