A group of Republican Congressmen are sponsoring legislation that seeks to stop the Biden administration’s “attack on pregnant and parenting mothers and families” and advancement of a pro-choice agenda.
In January, Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) introduced the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act (HR 6918), created in response to a proposed rule issued in the fall by the Department of Health and Human Services. The rule could be interpreted to restrict states from using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for pregnancy centers. TANF provides $16.5 billion in federal funding to states for cash assistance for low-income families and to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
Fischbach, who is sponsoring the bill along with Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), refuted the Biden Administration’s argument that pregnancy centers should not be eligible because the centers “only help women after they become pregnant.”
“This bill should be a no-brainer. Pregnancy centers do not just serve pregnant women, they offer a wide array of services and support for mothers, fathers, and families,” Fischbach said. “Pregnancy centers provide treatment, counseling, ultrasounds, parenting and prenatal education, diapers, baby clothes, referrals for housing and transportation, and so much more. They provide support to new moms and their babies.”
In 2022, pregnancy centers across the United States met with over 16 million clients and provided over $358 million worth of goods and services, according to Hope for a New Generation, a collaboration of national survey data provided by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), Care Net, Heartbeat International, and National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. The report included data from 2,750 pregnancy centers in the United States.
Congressmen Jason Smith (R-MO), Chairman of the House’s Ways and Means Committee, spoke about the value provided by pregnancy centers when he introduced HR 6918 for markup on January 11.
“Today, we are taking steps to stop the Biden administration's attack on pregnant and parenting mothers and families,” he said. “The Biden administration is deliberately attempting to sidestep Congress to further its political agenda.”
Smith commented that nothing in the bipartisan law that created TANF gives the administration the authority to unfairly target pregnancy resource centers.
“These centers provide expectant mothers everything from diapers and prenatal vitamins to transportation and parenting classes. Yet the Biden administration is preparing to make it harder for moms to choose life for their unborn child and take care of themselves and their baby,” Jason Smith said. “If this rule takes effect, women in America will have fewer alternatives to abortion and less access to maternal care.”
HR 6918 would prohibit the Administration for Children and Families from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing (with respect to certain pregnancy centers) a provision of a proposed rule modifying the standard for a state's reasonable use of funds under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
The bill has the support of pro-life organizations.
“Pregnancy centers serve millions of clients annually and offer hope and support for women and their unborn children,” said Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life. “This legislation protects access to maternal care by blocking the Biden Administration from implementing a rule that could endanger funding for pregnancy centers…In a post-Roe America, it is more important now than ever that pregnancy centers are able to effectively support mothers and their babies.”
“Women across the country deserve to receive the vital care and support they need when facing an unplanned pregnancy,” said the Honorable Marilyn Musgrave, SBA Pro-Life America’s vice president of government affairs. “Nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers nationwide stand ready to provide moms and their families with the critical material, educational and emotional help they need, offering women real choices.”