INDIANAPOLIS — People from across the state gathered Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse, urging lawmakers to protect Hoosier moms and babies.
Now more than ever, advocates say protecting Hoosier families is critically important.
“I know so many pregnant women or women that have already had their babies that have been through the same things I have,” April Lopossa, of Martinsville, said. “If I can give us a voice, that is my goal.”
During both her pregnancies, Lopossa said her company refused to give her basic accommodations.
“They had me climbing ladders at 38 weeks pregnant, stocking freight in the heaviest aisle,” she said, including limited bathroom breaks.
“When you’re being timed or monitoring it,” Lopossa said. “They had supervisors that would stand there and watch to make sure you went to the bathroom while you were at lunch. If you were a minute late, they counted it against you for your attendance. It was a lot.”
So last year, when the pandemic hit, pregnant and also having a recent cancer diagnosis, Lopossa finally called it quits. She said she felt forced out of her job.
“Going through all of that, not being able to sit down, working the 12-hour shifts,” she said. “It was a lot as a pregnant person. It was a lot when I wasn’t pregnant.”
“These accommodations aren’t happening right now in a lot of workplaces,” Tasha Coppinger, Hoosier Action organizing director, said. “So it’s something that we desperately need.”
Hoosier Action is a statewide nonpartisan organization that is pushing for legislation that would protect pregnant working moms from harmful working conditions, as well as rights for renters who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 to keep their homes while in the middle of winter.
“You get bathroom breaks, you don’t have to lift objects that are too heavy that might hurt your pregnancy, you get a glass of water close to your workstation,” Coppinger said. “Things like that.”
Recognizing, we now live in a world where most women work, Coppinger said, “if we don’t have a state where women can both carry a child safely and healthfully and have a job, it’s going to hurt our economy incredibly. And it’s going to hurt our future.”
“I want you to think of your mom working,” Lopossa said. “Would you be okay with that? If she was pregnant with you? Nobody would.”
As 30 other states have already passed pregnancy accommodation laws, advocates want Indiana to be next.
“It’s time that we see something actually happened some real action in our state to protect women,” Coppinger said.