Background on Families & Children

    Paid Family Leave
  • Family leave was first passed in 1993 and is strengthened under ObamaCare. Democrats push for "paid family leave" which would allow employees to take leave to care for family members in need. Republicans push instead for individual tax-deductible savings accounts allocating funds for that purpose.
  • PRO Family Leave: (National Partnership for Women and Families): 19% of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and 40% have access to medical leave through disability insurance. 84% of voters support a paid family leave policy that covers ALL working people to care for a new child; a seriously ill or disabled loved one; or their own health issue. Unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides important job protections; it is available to about 60% of workers--but many can't afford to take it.
  • ANTI Family Leave: (Cato Institute) 74% of Americans support federal paid leave program when costs not mentioned--60% oppose if they got smaller pay raises in the future. 78% support family leave savings accounts. Americans aren't willing to cut spending, increase the deficit, or have fewer employer-provided benefits for Federal paid leave. New mothers say more affordable daycare, flexible work, and telecommuting options are more important than more paid leave.
  • TRUMP: Paid family leave for federal employees. (Feb 2020)
  • PENCE: Voted NO on four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. (Jun 2009)
  • BIDEN: Fought for Family and Medical Leave, up to 12 unpaid weeks. (Sep 2007)
  • HARRIS: Six months paid family leave; burden still falls on women. (Nov 2019)
  • News on FMLA (Candidates' excerpts on Family & Medical Leave Act)
    Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • The Violence Against Women Act was Senator Biden's most important legislative accomplishment before becoming Vice President. Some still-relevant aspects:
  • PRO-VAWA (The Domestic Violence Hotline): The Violence Against Women Act VAWA is a landmark piece of legislation that sought to improve criminal legal and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the United States. The passage of VAWA in 1994 and its reauthorization in 2000, 2005, and 2013 have changed the landscape for victims who once suffered in silence.
  • ANTI-VAWA (The Hill e-zine on 2019 reauthorization): The House passed VAWA over objections from the National Rifle Association and Republicans, who argued the legislation would restrict gun rights by preventing people convicted of stalking or abusing dating partners from buying a gun. The bill would eliminate the "boyfriend loophole" by expanding bans on firearm purchases for unmarried partners convicted of abuse or under a restraining order.
  • BIDEN: 1991: VAWA is about civil rights, not divorce law. (Oct 2010)
  • Green Party Nominee Howie HAWKINS: Criminalize purchasers of sex, not the prostitutes (Jul 2020)
  • In 2006, the "Me Too" Movement was founded by domestic violence survivors. In 2017, the #MeToo hashtag went viral and woke up the world to the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence. (
  • PRO-#MeToo: A Sexual Harassment Awareness Guide (Maryville University)
    • The majority of sexual assault victims are younger people, under 34 years of age.
    • Transgender people suffer higher rates of sexual violence than their cisgender peers.
    • Sexual violence often stays with a victim for a long time after the actual incident; 94% of women who have been raped experienced PTSD.
  • ANTI-#MeToo: (Dallas News): The #MeToo movement is that it turned sexual assault into a trend and simultaneously drowned out the voices of real rape victims--who deserve to be heard:
    • The entire premise of #MeToo is that women are stupid, weak & inconsequential.
    • Too stupid to know what men might want if you come to their hotel room late at night.
    • Too weak to turn around and tell someone not to touch your ass again.
    • Too inconsequential to realize this.
  • TRUMP: Girls smuggled across border into modern-day slavery (Feb 2019)
  • BIDEN: MeToo: Change the culture of how women are treated. (Nov 2019)
  • News on #MeToo Movement (Candidates' recent excerpts)
    Prenuptial Agreements
  • President Trump encourages prenuptial agreements (and has had several) but most people don't know what they mean...
  • PRO prenup: (NoLo legal help website): A prenuptial agreement ("prenup" for short) is a written contract created by two people before they are married. A prenup typically lists all of the property each person owns (as well as any debts) and specifies what each person's property rights will be after the marriage. If you don't make a prenuptial agreement, your state's laws determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage.
  • ANTI prenup: (Divorce Net website): 5 Prenuptial Pitfalls to Consider:
    • Pitfall 1: Negotiating a prenuptial agreement may irrevocably damage your relationship and make divorce more likely.
    • Pitfall 2: When the two parties negotiating a prenuptial agreement do not have equal bargaining power, the agreement tends to be coercive.
    • Pitfall 3: Prenuptial agreements may be inappropriate for couples entering into first marriages.
    • Pitfall 4: A prenuptial agreement often damages the relationship between the two families-of-origin.
    • Pitfall 5: Oftentimes, the terms of a prenuptial agreement are unfair at the time of divorce and the spouses end up in court battle anyway.
  • TRUMP: Everyone getting married should have a prenuptial agreement. (Sep 2008)
  • PENCE: Future of conservatism demands traditional marriage. (Feb 2008)
    AMBER alert
  • AMBER alerts, or "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response", entail government agencies notifying the public about a missing child, usually via cellphone texts. The issue has become a proxy for emphasis on crimes against children, vs. over-policing of society.
  • PRO-AMBER Alert (US Department of Justice):
      Recommended Criteria for broadcasting:
    • An abduction has occurred of a child aged 17 years or younger..
    • The child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
    • An AMBER Alert ;may] assist in the recovery of the child.
    • The child's name and data have been entered into the National Crime Information Center system.
  • ANTI-AMBER Alert: Critics call the AMBER Alert system 'crime control theater,' because it only has a 20% success rate in finding missing children. And children who are rescued in these situations are not rescued from life-threatening peril. In other words, AMBER Alert is not really saving lives.
  • PENCE: Voted YES on establishing nationwide AMBER alert system for missing kids. (Apr 2003)
  • HARRIS: Served as attorney in Division on Children and Families. (Apr 2015)
    Anti-vaccination movement
  • In 1998, a paper was published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, presenting evidence that a childhood immunization vaccine was linked to the onset of autism spectrum disorders. The article was widely criticized and partially retracted in 2004, then fully retracted in 2010. However, this article sparked a much greater anti-vaccination movement, primarily in the United States, where 1 in 4 parents still believe vaccines can cause autism.
  • HPV: Getting HPV vaccines has become a proxy for whether all vaccines should be mandated or optional (See Health Care Background link for more), and also a proxy for whether children should be taught "safe sex" vs. abstinence.
  • PRO HPV Vaccine: (Mayo Clinic): Most cervical cancers are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Widespread immunization with the HPV vaccine could reduce the impact of cervical cancer worldwide.
  • ANTI HPV Vaccine: (The Guardian): Moral opposition to HPV vaccination is clearest in America, primarily voiced by religious conservatives, whose arguments pivot around sex rather than efficacy, advocating abstinence in lieu of vaccination: without the fear of genital warts or cervical cancer, young people will become more promiscuous
  • TRUMP: I'm for vaccines, but in smaller quantities to avoid autism. (Sep 2015)
  • PENCE: Let parents and doctors decide on HPV vaccinations. (Feb 2015)
  • News on Vaccinations (Candidates' recent excerpts)
  • Coronavirus anti-vaxxers are discussed further in our Health Care background section.
    Family Values
  • When Democrats discuss family values, they mean economic issues, and perhaps censorship issues, like those below.
  • When Republicans discuss family values, they mean a more general concept of traditional American society, hinting at:
    • Traditional roles for women versus men
    • Traditional marriage over same-sex marriage
    • Traditional child-rearing concepts like encouraging abstinence
    • Pro-life and pro-adoption.
  • In the 2016 elections, the concept of "Latino family values" may play an important role in the Republican primaries. Numerous surveys support that Latinos support the Republican definition of traditional family values, yet they vote overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections. Some Republicans, especially Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), have both focused on how to reach Latinos on grounds of shared family values, to overcome the demographic problem of the overwhelming Democratic vote.
  • In 1999, Elián González left Cuba with his mother for Florida, on a small boat with other illegal immigrants. Elián's mother drowned en route with ten others, and Elián was placed in custody of relatives in Florida. Under the "wet feet/dry feet" rule, since Elián had been arrested at sea ("wet feet"), he was not eligible to stay in the U.S., whereas Cubans who make it illegally to American shores ("dry feet") may stay as refugees. In April 2000, the I.N.S., under authority from President Bill Clinton's Attorney General Janet Reno, stormed the relatives' home and arrested Elián, who was sent back to Cuba to his father's custody. Conservatives nationwide called for Elián to stay in the U.S., on grounds of anti-Communism.
  • News on Family Values (Candidates' recent excerpts)
    Child Deductions & Tax Credits
  • The 1997 Tax Relief Act established a per-child tax credit of $400 for 1998, increasing to $500 for 1999. In 2015, the per-child tax credit is as high as $1,000.
  • In addition, the 1990s tax code allowed for a deduction of $2,650 per dependent child. In 2015, the per-child tax deduction is $3,950.
  • Candidates focus on the social effects of those tax policies as well as deductions for day-care, pre-school, after-school, and others.
  • Some candidates instead focus on how corporations can support families via Family Leave, Flex-Time, and so on.
    Internet Smut, V-Chip & TV Ratings
  • Internet filters are intended to prohibit children from seeing Internet-based pornography, based on parameters that parents can set up.
  • The ‘V-Chip’ and other ‘choice chips’ allow similar parental oversight of television programs.
  • Television programs, music CDs, video games, and other forms of entertainment may soon carry ratings similar to those in cinemas today (which are voluntarily established by the movie industry).
    Deadbeat Dads & Child Support
  • On one side, enforcing child support payments improves children’s economic circumstances.
  • On the other side, ‘fatherhood rights’ is beginning to achieve courtroom victories against anti-male bias.

Related Info:
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Internet Filters
  • Pro-V-Chip
  • Anti-V-Chip
  • Pro-TV-filtering
  • Anti-TV-Ratings
  • Anti-Deadbeat Dads
  • Pro-father's rights
  • Click here for Amazon books on Families
    Other candidates on Families & Children: Background on other issues:
    2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
    V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
    Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
    Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
    Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
    Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
    Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
    Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
    CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
    Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

    2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
    CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
    Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
    Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
    V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
    Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
    CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
    Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
    Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
    V.C.Arvin Vohra (L-MD)
    Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
    Gov.Bill Weld (L-MA)

    2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
    State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
    Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
    Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
    Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
    Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
    Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
    Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
    Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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