CNA Staff, Jan 17, 2024 / 13:30 pm (CNA).
A bill under consideration in Congress would head off the White House’s attempts to strip federal funding from some crisis pregnancy centers throughout the U.S.
H.R. 6918, titled the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives this month. The bill if passed would “prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from restricting funding for pregnancy centers.”
The bill, which is scheduled to be considered on Thursday, is meant to counteract the Biden administration’s efforts to restrict crisis pregnancy centers around the country from participating in a major federal welfare program.
The government first proposed the rule change last year, arguing that certain pregnancy resource centers that receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding were potentially not meeting the statutory threshold for receiving those funds.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last year urged the public to petition the government to refrain from the rule change, arguing that the new policy could “unfairly cut off TANF funds from pregnancy help centers.”
The bill explicitly states that the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services “may not finalize, implement, or enforce” the new rule.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, the chair of the House Rules Committee, said in introducing the bill that it would “prevent the defunding of these critical health centers.”
“It’s a direct step in safeguarding access to care and support needed as parents ready to bring a child into the world,” Cole said.
In a statement provided to CNA, Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, a co-sponsor of the bill, pointed to a recently released report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute that said “there are 2,750 pregnancy resource centers in the United States that have provided over $358 million in 2022 alone in support for pregnant women and their children.”
“Even so, the Biden administration is hostile to this work and is actively trying to discourage it by prohibiting these pro-life centers from receiving federal funding through the TANF program,” Aderholt said.
“This bill corrects that injustice and I am proud to be co-sponsoring this pro-woman legislation that will help pregnant women get support that they need,” he said.
Cole on Tuesday also introduced H.R. 6914, the Pregnant Students’ Right Act, a bill that seeks to address what it describes as “the lack of resources, support, and notifications available for [pregnant] female college students who do not wish to receive an abortion or who carry their unborn babies to term.”
The bill, which will be considered on Friday, would in part require schools to publicize “a list of resources on campus and in the community that exist to help a pregnant student in carrying the baby to term and caring for the baby after birth.”
“Each pupil has a distinct journey, and I think we can all agree that resources and guidance offered on campus should reflect that,” Cole said on Tuesday.
“This bill ensures that pregnant students are well-informed about their rights and the support they can access.”
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