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Utah Rep. Blake Moore co-sponsors act creating support for pregnant women

Rep. Blake Moore, right, talks to journalists in Logan on April 17. Moore, R-Utah, announced Friday that he is co-sponsoring the Care for Her Act.

Rep. Blake Moore, right, talks to journalists in Logan on April 17. Moore, R-Utah, announced Friday that he is co-sponsoring the Care for Her Act.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, announced Friday that he is co-sponsoring the Care for Her Act, which would establish a community support system for pregnant women and their children.

The bill, originally sponsored by Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, has four provisions. The first would be to expand the child tax credit to include unborn children, meaning pregnant parents would receive $3,600 as they prepare for birth. The second provision would create a federal-state collaborative to put together a verified list of all the available resources and programs for expectant mothers, including those in low-income areas.

Of the nine additional co-sponsors of the act, Moore is the only man.

The third would provide federal grants for maternal housing and professional and educational opportunities. The fourth would provide incentives for companies that create child care facilities, family-friendly policies, paid family leave, space for breastfeeding, telecommuting and flex-time for working mothers.

"I am honored to be an original cosponsor of Rep. Fortenberry's Care for Her Act. Every child should be given equal opportunities, no matter the circumstances of their conception or birth. I support comprehensive resources for low-income mothers and children," Moore said in a tweet Friday.

"We must empower women by giving them the resources they need to provide healthy, safe, and stable outcomes for their families."

Moore's announcement comes two days after the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas Heartbeat Act, referred to by the New York Times as "the most restrictive abortion law in the nation," which would prohibit nearly all abortions after six weeks into pregnancy without exceptions for incest or rape and allows citizens to sue anyone who assists a pregnant person in seeking an abortion, including driving the person to the clinic.

The Care for Her Act does not address abortion, sex education or birth control, and instead focuses on pregnant women who either choose not to or cannot have an abortion.

Fortenberry wrote that it came into being as he was thinking about how to best decrease abortion rates. On his website, he quoted early feminist author Mattie Brinkerhoff: "When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society — so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged."

His solution was to provide resources for pregnant people to ensure that both the women and the children did not feel "abandoned" after the child comes to term.

"I am pleased that so many of my colleagues are joining with me to say we should be big enough and generous enough to care for a woman and her child who need help in times of vulnerability. This is our chance to support a woman with an unexpected pregnancy all the way through birth and child-rearing. Care for Her establishes a community of care for the journey of life," Fortenberry said in a statement.

The beginning of the act refers to the Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. McRae, which, it says, demonstrates precedent that federal and state governments "have a vested interest in assuring optimal support and outcomes for women and their children, and this ruling supports the decided interest of the United States government to help a woman through childbirth and child-rearing."

"No expecting mother should feel alone. Unfortunately, many women are not aware of the local, state, and federal resources available to them, especially during an unplanned pregnancy," Calif. Rep. Young Kim said in a statement.

"As a mother of four, I'm proud to join my colleagues to introduce the Care for Her Act to strengthen the outreach and effectiveness of programs for education, mentoring, housing and other support services for pregnant women and their children."

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