Senator Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley introduced legislation to raise awareness about pregnancy loss and establish new paid leave benefits for workers experiencing painful challenges while seeking to grow their families.
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.
“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 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:
- 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.
- Have the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
- Invest $45 million annually to the National Institutes of Health for federal research into miscarriage and 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 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.”
Duckworth was the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office, and pushed to change the Senate rules to allow her newborn on the floor while she voted.
Duckworth told CBS News she is speaking with Republican members in the hopes of getting bipartisan support for her bill.
“It’s a lived experience and why diversity matters in Congress,” Duckworth said. “I think it takes women in office who have gone through this to really bring it to the forefront.”