May 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Senate GOP pushes bill to provide support to pregnant women, moms

Senator Katie Britt, a Republican from Alabama, speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

Senator Katie Britt, a Republican from Alabama, speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. Photo: Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and 10 other Senate Republicans are introducing legislation Thursday providing various prenatal and postpartum support for women, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The legislation comes before Mother's Day and as Republicans struggle to find a winning message on reproductive rights in the post-Roe era.

  • "This legislation is further evidence that you can absolutely be pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-family at the same time," Britt said in a statement provided to Axios.
  • "Raising kids takes a village, and we should be doing everything we can to support new moms before and after they welcome a new baby," co-sponsor and NRSC chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), said in a statement on the bill.

Between the lines: The bill will not gain much traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

  • But it represents the kind of approach some Republicans think could help them win in November, despite abortion continuing to bolster Democrats.

Zoom in: Britt is introducing the MOMS Act days before Mother's Day along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who has been floated as a potential vice presidential pick for former President Trump — and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

  • Other co-sponsors include Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kans.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).
  • The bill would require states to apply child support obligations during pregnancy and would launch a website —— with resources related to pregnancy, including information about adoption agencies, but not abortion clinics.
  • It would also provide grants to anti-abortion non-profits that assist women through their pregnancies and after birth.

Zoom out: Anti-abortion ballot measures have repeatedly failed even in conservative states, and the abortion issue has been one of the biggest vulnerabilities for GOP candidates since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade nearly two years ago.

  • After decades of anti-abortion organizing, Republicans have tried to find middle ground — calling for better access to contraceptives, better holistic support for pregnant women or urging that the abortion restrictions be left to the state rather than pushing for national limits.

The bottom line: Britt has risen as a party leader on the issue, especially after her response decrying an Alabama court ruling earlier this year, which restricted access to fertility treatments in the state.

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