(or indeed fathers for paternity)
This has been put to me by a few people now, who don't believe that women should get any financial assistance from an employer for taking time off work to have children. By all means keep their job and any benefits associated with it until their return, by why should they be paid when essentially they have made a choice to raise a family. After all, many employees are not paid for meal breaks or sick leave. Its a system that can be abused, such as women gaining public sector jobs then taking maternity leave after 6 months, knowing that they probably have a job for life.
Now, personally, this is not something I believe in. For one thing, if a woman is raped and subsequently becomes pregnant, for some there is simply no choice when it comes to an abortion. Secondly, having children is a right of life and as such I believe that society as a whole should support those who exercise that right, which of course includes employers offering financial support.
I think its an interesting topic, and probably wouldn't have questioned it if I hadn't met a few people recently who are quite opposed to it!