Jul 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Rubio, Mace introduce family planning legislation

Illustration of paper cut-out families under outlined houses
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are introducing legislation to set up a federal family planning website called life.gov to educate and provide family resources to pregnant women.

Why it matters: It's a glimpse into how the Republican Party wishes to move forward with federal legislation in the post-Roe era, as anti-abortion lawmakers and activists remain divided on the movement's next steps.

The details: The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to create and maintain the site life.gov.

  • Users could punch in their zip code and access a list of public and private resources in their state and locality in the areas of education, healthcare, childcare, mental health, legal support, financial assistance, and prenatal care.
  • The bill would also update HHS’s Maternal Mental Healthcare hotline to ensure expecting mothers have access to around-the-clock assistance to help navigate these resources.
  • Cosponsors of the Senate bill include Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

What they're saying: "Republicans are compassionate. We do care about family planning," Mace told Axios.

  • "Why are so many women needing to have an abortion? It's because their partners have abandoned them, they don't have access to good quality health care and do not have access to birth control. And so this is just a start at helping to get at the root of the problem."
  • "Pregnant and newly parenting mothers should not be left in the dark, nor should they be pushed toward abortion. Instead, they should have easy access to the resources they need to look after their babies. This bill would help make that a reality," Rubio said in a statement.
  • “One way we can show compassion for moms and their babies is to improve access to the resources and support systems they deserve," Fischer said in a statement.

The big picture: In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Republicans urgently want to establish themselves as pro-woman and pro-family, as critics accuse the party of caring about children only before they're born.

Go deeper: Dashboard: The latest on Roe v. Wade and abortion

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