Senator Scott Fights to Protect Funding for Pregnancy Centers
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act to protect the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds for pregnancy centers. On October 2, 2023, the Biden administration issued a proposed rule to amend TANF program regulations, which could restrict states from using TANF funding for pregnancy centers. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.). It passed the House by a 214-208 vote on January 19th.
“Pregnancy centers do extraordinary work to lift up mothers and their children in need,” said Senator Scott. “If this program’s goal is to provide assistance for needy families that will help them build stable, caring homes for their children, the only possible motivation for stripping funding from pregnancy centers is a political one. I’m proud to join this effort to allow pregnancy centers to continue doing the Lord’s work and providing hope for families struggling to make ends meet.”
“Pregnancy centers offer a wide array of services and support for expectant mothers, fathers, and their families. Women who face an unexpected pregnancy should be able to safely go into a facility that is not going to push abortion on them and instead provide them with the education and support they need. The Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act ensures pregnancy centers cannot be excluded or restricted from receiving TANF funding,” said Rep. Fischbach. “Make no mistake, conservatives are here for unborn children and their mothers, and we want to ensure an expectant mother is empowered to raise her family. Thank you to Senator Scott for leading this bill in the Senate to continue vital support for women in communities across the country.”
The legislation is supported by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, National Right to Life, Americans United for Life and Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
In addition to Senator Scott, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and John Kennedy (R-La.).
- The TANF program provides $16.5 billion in federal funding to states for direct cash assistance and non-assistance activities for needy families. The goal is to have children cared for in their own home or a relative’s home, end parents’ dependency on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage, reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage the formation of two-parent families.
- The Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act specifically prohibits restrictions on the use of TANF funds towards pregnancy centers under the Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families’ rule.
- It does not prohibit the rule from being implemented, it simply prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from making regulatory changes that would restrict TANF funding for pregnancy centers.
- The bill defines pregnancy centers as organizations that offer resources and support protecting the life of the mother and the unborn child, including but not limited to, providing relationship counseling, prenatal and pregnancy education, pregnancy testing, diapers, baby clothes or other material supports, to include pregnancy.
- Across the United States, the more than 2,750 pregnancy resource centers provided over $358 million in support for pregnant women and their children in 2022 alone.