The Arkansas Legislature does not convene until January, but lawmakers are already pre-filing bills ahead of the 2023 session.

To date, legislators have pre-filed about a dozen measures.

Among them is H.B. 1006 by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R — Knoxville). It would require an employer that covers abortions or travel expenses related to abortions to also provide 16 weeks of paid maternity leave to employees in Arkansas.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last June, corporations like Walmart have announced plans to pay for employees to have abortions. Some cover travel expenses — such as if a woman from Arkansas travels across state lines to have an abortion.

While many companies have made it clear that they support abortion and oppose the overturn of Roe v. Wade, it’s possible that some are comparing the cost of abortion coverage against the cost of paid maternity leave.

In Arkansas, six weeks of paid maternity leave for a full time employee earning minimum wage would cost a company $2,640.

An abortion procedure could cost as little as $500 – $900.

Even with coverage for travel expenses, the total costs for abortion could be less than the cost of paid maternity leave. In other words, it may be cheaper for employers to pay for abortions than for maternity leave.

It is worth noting that large employers — such as Walmart — are subject to the federal Family Medical Leave Act, which effectively requires employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave to employees.

As we said last summer, abortion has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Arkansans since 1973.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade and given states the ability to restrict or prohibit abortion, companies like Walmart are using their money and influence to promote abortion to their employees. That is simply tragic.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.