More than two dozen women's groups launched on Wednesday a campaign for legislation requiring large employers to grant unpaid leave to parents of newborn or seriously ill children.

"If politicians truly want to capture women's votes, they must go beyond pro-family rhetoric and photo opportunities with children," said Judith Lichtman, president of the Women's Legal Defense Fund."It's really quite simple. Put your votes where your mouths are," she said at a news conference packed with officers of national women's organizations.

The groups, ranging from Church Women United to the National Abortion Rights Action League, have mobilized in support of the Family and Medical Leave Act tentatively scheduled for a House vote Sept. 14.

The act would require companies that employ more than 50 to allow workers to take unpaid leave of at least 10 weeks to care for newborn, newly adopted or seriously ill children. At least 15 weeks would be available to employees suffering a serious illness themselves. An "elder care" provision would permit leaves to care for seriously ill parents.