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Mom Whose Baby Died in SoHo Day Care To Push Trump, Clinton on Paid Leave

By Amy Zimmer | August 18, 2016 4:39pm
 Lee Towndrow and Amber Scorah with their baby, Karl Towndrow, who died after his heart stopped beating at an unlicensed SoHo day care center on July 13, 2015.
Lee Towndrow and Amber Scorah with their baby, Karl Towndrow, who died after his heart stopped beating at an unlicensed SoHo day care center on July 13, 2015.
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NEW YORK CITY — Amber Scorah, the Brooklyn mom who heartbreakingly lost her 3-month-old when she dropped him off for his first day of day care in SoHo last summer, will deliver a petition to the offices of both presidential candidates next week demanding they take action for paid parental leave.

Scorah, who has become an outspoken advocate after the death of her son Karl Towndrow, has collected more than 134,000 signatures on a Change.org petition she created with Ali Dodd, an Oklahoman with a similar tragedy of losing her newborn on his first day of day care.

The pair have been pushing the presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to back the parental leave, and plan to deliver the petition to their offices in New York on Monday, calling on both to take action on paid parental leave within their first 100 days in office.

They plan to make their first delivery to Trump headquarters around 11 a.m., followed by a trip to Clinton’s Brooklyn office a few hours later.

“Under ordinary circumstances, two mothers as different as we are would never have met. One of us is from Oklahoma and is a registered Republican. The other is an unmarried liberal who lives in Brooklyn,” the women wrote in their petition. “But tragedy has a way of bringing people together. Last year, we both lost our babies, infant sons who died at daycare, after we’d left them in childcare to return to work.

"Neither of us wanted to leave our babies when we did, at mere weeks old, not yet. But neither of us had the luxury of choice.”

For an industrialized nation, American has the highest infant mortality rate in the world, the petition said, noting that paid leave has dramatically lowered infant death rates in countries where it was implemented.  It also pointed out that American babies whose moms don’t have parental leave tend to be taken to the doctor less and toddlers of parents without leave tend to have more behavioral and cognitive problems.

Though Trump’s daughter Ivanka seemed to argue for paid parental leave when she introduced her father at the Republican National Convention, the candidate himself did not address the issue when he took the podium and does not appear to have an official position on it, according to his website.

When asked about paid family leave on Fox News in October, he was vague: “Well it’s something that’s being discussed, I think we have to keep our country very competitive, so you have to be careful of it.”

Clinton, on the other hand, has been clear in her support of 12 weeks of paid leave.

“Too many moms have to go back to work just days after their babies are born,” she said in May, according to her website. “And too many dads and parents of adopted children don’t get any paid leave at all. Neither do sons and daughters struggling to take care of their aging parents. None of this is fair to families.”

Her website outlines that Clinton would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, ensuring workers get at least two-thirds of their current wages.