July 20, 2021
Pressley, Duckworth Introduce Bill to Support Families Experiencing Pregnancy Loss, Invest in Research
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today introduced legislation to raise awareness about pregnancy loss and establish new paid leave benefits for workers experiencing painful challenges while seeking to grow their family.
The Support Through Loss Act would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy or other challenges starting a family by increasing access to workforce supports, access to resources and patient centered care. It would also have the Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control develop and disseminate public information regarding pregnancy loss and invest in the National Institutes of Health to expand and coordinate research and programs with respect to pregnancy loss.
“Pregnancy loss should be met with care, compassion and support. It is a common experience, but many struggle in silence due to the lack of awareness and cultural stigma,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “Our bill sends a message to families that they are not alone, and would support those experiencing the loss of a pregnancy by providing them with the resources, workforce supports, and care necessary to recover and heal. I am grateful to Senator Duckworth and to our advocates for their close partnership on this long-overdue legislation.”
“The decision to start a family can be so many things—thrilling, life-changing and carefully thought out—but the road to parenthood is not always easy and for many, it can be full of setbacks and disappointments,” said Sen. Duckworth. “My family faced our own heartbreaks and challenges when growing our family and I wouldn’t have my two girls today if it weren’t for the miracle of IVF. The Support Through Loss Act would provide so many hopeful parents with the support they need when experiencing loss, which is why I’m so proud to introduce this bill with Congresswoman Pressley to shine a light on the experiences of families across the nation.”
Specifically, the Support Through Loss Act would:
- Invest $45 million annually to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriage and pregnancy loss;
- Require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to develop and disseminate public information regarding pregnancy loss, including information on the incidence and prevalence of pregnancy loss, as well as the range of treatment options for pregnancy loss and recurrent pregnancy loss; and
- Ensure employers provide at least three days of paid leave for workers to process and cope following a pregnancy loss, an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption arrangement, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.
Full bill text can be found here and a bill summary is available here.
Along with Rep. Pressley and Senator Duckworth, the Support Through Loss Act is co-sponsored by Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Cori Bush (MO-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
The legislation is supported by the Center for Reproductive Rights, In Our Own Voice, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Quietly in Loss Together, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March of Dimes, Physicians for Reproductive Health, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicines, and the Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Association.
“The Black Reproductive Justice Policy Agenda was developed to support legislative action that directly impacts the lives of Black women, femmes, girls, and gender-expansive individuals, this bill is an example of that vision,” said Marcela Howell, President & CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “In Our Own Voice applauds Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Tammy Duckworth for their leadership in championing the health and wellbeing of pregnant people and their families. We call on the House and the Senate to take immediate action to pass the ‘Support Through Loss Act’ now.”
Congresswoman Pressley has led efforts in Congress to strengthen and expand paid leave protections. Last year, Reps. Pressley and DeLauro, along with Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA), introduced the PAID Leave Act (Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act), a comprehensive emergency paid sick, paid family and medical leave bill to provide additional financial support to our nation’s most vulnerable workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies. Rep. Pressley has also consistently called for expanded paid family and medical leave to be included in federal COVID-19 relief and infrastructure packages.
As a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, Congresswoman Pressley is also committed to ending the Black maternal mortality crisis in America and affirming maternal health justice for all. She has introduced the MOMMIES Act to expand coverage for pregnant people through Medicaid, she has introduced the Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act to improve maternal health care and support for pregnant individuals who are incarcerated, and she has also introduced the COVID-19 Safe Birthing Act to provide critical protections and access to care for pregnant people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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