On Thursday, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said he didn’t “know why you’d give” a pregnant woman an “important” job.
During an early morning episode of "Fox & Friends," host Brian Kilmeade discussed the newly created advisory board at the Department of Homeland Security, which will focus on "coordinating the department’s response to the potential impacts of disinformation threats," according to The New York Times.
In 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said misinformation posed a "serious threat to public health."
Nina Jankowicz, author of “How to Be a Woman Online,” which details the vitriol and harassment she and many other women face on social media, was appointed to lead the advisory board. She is 8 months pregnant.
This seemed to confuse Kilmeade, who is a father of three.
"I'm not sure how you get a job and then you just — you can't do a job for three months," the FOX & Friends host asked, referring to an assumed three-month-long maternity leave Jankowicz would take after giving birth.
"I'm not faulting her, but I don't know why you would give someone a job that you think is so important," he added.
TODAY Parents reached out to FOX News for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Ainsley Earhardt, Kilmeade's Fox & Friends co-host, quickly challenged him on this point, and asked how long Jankowicz had the job.
"About two months, it looks like," Kilmeade responded.
"Well, I'll defend her on that one, Brian," Earhardt said. "She has the right to have a baby and have maternity leave."
Kilmeade's comments came just days after a draft of a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision that determined pregnant people have the constitutional right to access abortion care, was leaked to Politico.
If Roe is overturned, 13 states will ban abortion immediately, while over a dozen more will severely restrict abortion. People living in those states will be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy, unless they're able to travel to receive abortion care in another state or obtain an abortion illegally, risking criminalization.
Currently, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not mandate paid parental leave. One 2015 analysis of U.S. Department of Labor statistics found that nearly 1 in 4 moms return to work just two weeks after giving birth.
The United States does not offer parents access to universal child care, and the average family spends $18,000 on child care a year. Motherly's annual State of Motherhood survey found that in 2021, the number one reason why mothers left their job is because they did not have access to child care.
Mothers are also paid less than fathers. Moms make 71 cents for every dollar a dad makes — a loss of $16,000 a year. One 2018 study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a woman's income drops 30% after giving birth for the first time.
According to the Pew Research Center 40% of women with children under the age of 18 are the primary breadwinners for their families, and 55% of moms are employed full-time. Studies have shown that children benefit from having a working mother, especially daughters of working moms, who will earn 23% more when working than daughters of stay-at-home moms.
Still, 42% of Americans believe only working part time is ideal for moms of young children, according to Pew research, and 21% believe moms shouldn't work for pay at all.