Pregnant Women Support Act

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The Pregnant Women Support Act was created by the Democrats for Life of America and introduced into the Congress by Representative Lincoln Davis of Tennessee.

It is, according to Democrats for Life, "a comprehensive package of federal legislation and policy proposals that will reduce the number of abortions... While both Democrats and Republicans talk about reducing the number of abortions, Democrats for Life of America offers real solutions to make this goal a reality. With bold new ideas, sound research and policy arguments, [the Pregnant Women Support Act] contains proven policy suggestions to dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America."

In their 2005 book, Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future, Paul Begala and James Carville praise Democrats for Life their work. In the book they say the Act "is built around seventeen concrete policy proposals that would reduce the number of abortions.... We believe these proposals would do more to prevent abortions than all the speeches, all the marches and all the campaign ads the pro-lifers have used over the past 30 years." They go on to call it "both good politics and, we think, good policy."

When introducing the bill Davis was joined by Republican lead cosponsor Rep. Chris Smith and Reps. Harold Ford, Jr., Charlie Melancon, and Dan Lipinski. Other original cosponsors include Reps. Marion Berry, Allen Boyd, Jerry Costello, Mike Fitzpatrick, Tim Holden, Marcy Kaptur, Mark Kennedy, Dale Kildee, Dan Lipinski, Jim Marshall, Mike McIntrye, Alan Mollohan, James Oberstar, Solomon Ortiz, and Colin Peterson. Organizations and Individuals who have sent statements in support of the bill include the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners/Call to Renewal, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Americans United for Life, Democrats for Life of America, National Council on Adoption, Life Education and Resource Network, Redeem the Vote, CARENET, Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, Joe Turnham, Chairman, Alabama Democratic Party, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, and actor, Martin Sheen.[1]

The Proposals[edit]

Empower Women[edit]

  • Federal Funding for Toll-Free Number/National Public Awareness Program
Enact an advertising campaign in each state to provide a toll free number that will direct a woman to organizations that provide support services for pregnant women who want to carry their children to term and/or direct women to adoption centers. Organizations that qualify for the referral from the toll-free hotline must be non-profit, tax exempt organizations that do not provide abortion referral services.
  • Conduct a National Study & Update Abortion Data
National Institutes of Health will collect "accurate" data on why women choose abortions. Within five years of enactment, the NIH will present its findings to Congress. This will be compiled on a confidential and voluntary basis.
  • Federal Funding for Pregnancy Prevention Education
Provide grants to school districts that are in need of funds to administer effective, age-appropriate pregnancy prevention education.
  • Federal Funding for Abortion Counseling and Daycare on University Campuses
Provide grants for universities and colleges to support pregnant women; provide resources and support to help women continue their education if they keep their child or make an adoption plan for their child. These grants will help universities establish an on-campus office for counseling, referral, and parenting services for pregnant women and daycare services for parents.
  • Provide Accurate Information to Patients Receiving a Positive Result from an Alpha-Fetoprotein Test tests.
Pregnant women who choose to undergo prenatal genetic testing should be provided with information on the accuracy of these tests. There can be false-positive results, indicating a problem when the child is actually healthy.[2]
  • Make Adoption Tax Credits Permanent
Repeal the sunset on adoption tax credits and make them permanent.
End the discriminatory practices against pregnant women in the health insurance industry by removing pregnancy from all “pre-existing condition” lists in health care.
  • Require Adoption Referral Information
Require pregnancy centers and women's health centers that provide pregnancy counseling and that receive federal funding to provide adoption referral information.
  • Women's Right to Know
Any women's health center or clinic that provides pregnancy counseling or abortion services must provide accurate information on abortion and the adverse side effects that may affect the woman's health. Patients do not have to accept the materials if they do not want them.
  • Provide Ultrasound Equipment
Provide grants to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations for the purchase of ultrasound equipment to provide free examinations to pregnant women needing such services. This equipment will be operated by licensed professionals.
  • Increase Funding for Domestic Violence Programs
Offer additional federal funding for programs that have received grants by the Department of Justice for providing counseling and shelter for women and children in crisis pregnancies. The leading cause of death against pregnant women is murder.[3]

Protect our Children[edit]

  • Fully Fund Federal WIC Program
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is funded at about $4.9 billion, which advocates say is $268 million less than what's needed to serve the current 7.86–7.90 million participants. The administration expects 8.2 million pregnant women, infants, and young children to be served by the program. Thus, this analysis assumes that an eight percent reduction translates into 670,000 fewer people being served (which is eight percent of 8.2 million).
The administration also proposes placing an overall cap on all non-defense, non-Homeland Security discretionary spending for the next five years. By 2010, those discretionary caps could force 660,000 recipients to lose WIC in 2010. Between 2006 and 2010, the WIC cuts could total $657 million.

In addition, it is estimated that every dollar spent on WIC results in between $1.77 and $3.13 in Medicaid savings for newborns and their mothers.[4]

  • Parental Notification
Prohibits transporting a minor across a state line to obtain an abortion but makes an exception if the abortion was necessary to save the life of the minor. It requires states that have parental notification to inform parents of state statutory rape laws.
  • Provide Grants to States to Help in the Promotion and Implementation of Safe Haven Laws
Forty-six states now have some type of safe haven legislation. Most of the laws designate hospitals, emergency medical services, fire stations and police stations as safe locations. One exception is New York, which stipulates that the baby may be left with a suitable person or may be left in a suitable location so long as an appropriate person is promptly notified.
  • Require Counseling in Maternity Group Homes
Adoption counseling in federally funded maternity group homes and teaching of parenting skills.
  • Require SCHIP to cover pregnant women
Mandate State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage for pregnant women. Expanded coverage to pregnant women through Medicaid and the SCHIP and to newborns through the first full year of life.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rep. Lincoln Davis (2006). "DAVIS INTRODUCES COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSAL". Archived from the original on 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Alpha-fetoprotein". University of Virginia Health System. 2004. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  3. ^ Kim Curtis (April 23, 2003). "Murder: The Leading Cause of Death for Pregnant Women". Associated Press. 
  4. ^ Devaney, B; Bulheimer, L.; Schore, J. (1992). "Medicaid costs and birth outcomes: the effects of prenatal WIC participation and the use of prenatal care". Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 11 (4): 573–592. doi:10.2307/3324956. JSTOR 3324956. PMID 10121542.