Outtakes from the State of the Union Address

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama hit on several key issues that impact almost every family we know.

“Surely we can agree…that every woman should have access to the healthcare she needs.”

No matter what demographic or political party we identify with, most of us recognize that in 2015, parents face tremendous disparities when it comes to wage and gender equity, affordable education, childcare and healthcare and the ability to afford time off from work for illness and maternity leave. We know that while life is easy for some fortunate Americans, it’s overwhelmingly difficult for far too many, especially for women and mothers. The President spoke about issues we know are essential for all parents to do the best job possible of raising the next generation. Here are a few outtakes from the State of the Union that mattered to us the most.

On comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all women:

“If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments — but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the healthcare she needs.”

On paid maternity leave and sick leave:

“Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”

On the high cost of childcare:

“Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota.”

On women in the workplace and its connection to childcare:

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

On wage equity:

“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned. And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

On inclusion of all citizens:

“…we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen— man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.

As America moves forward, we’ll be discussing these issues under the leadership of government with the potential to make huge strides in improving the lives of women, mothers, families and children. We hope power struggles and bipartisanship won’t stand in the way. To restate Obama’s words: It’s 2015. It’s time.”

*AP Photo

Topics: Human Rights, Maternal Health