Legislative Updates related to Reproductive Justice, Health, and Rights
Policy & Advocacy
Below you will find a few key legislative Successes and updates related to Reproductive Justice and Maternal Health:
Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act or the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act
This bill expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk. Specifically, it expands the requirement that employers provide certain accommodations for such an employee to cover salaried employees and other types of workers not covered under existing law. Further, time spent expressing breast milk must be considered hours worked if the employee is also working. This will help make breastfeeding more accessible and close the racial gap for black birthing people.
Pregnancy Workers and Fairness Act
This bill prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. A qualified employee is an employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position, with specified exceptions. This, along with other protections, will provide Black people with additional protections against discrimination.
Taskforce Recommending Improvements for Unaddressed Mental Perinatal & Postpartum Health for New Moms Act of 2021 or the TRIUMPH for New Moms Act of 2021
This bill temporarily establishes within the Department of Health and Human Services the Task Force on Maternal Mental Health. The task force must develop a national strategy for maternal mental health and report on best practices, policies, and programs to prevent, screen for, diagnose, treat, and reduce disparities in maternal mental health conditions. The report must identify opportunities for state- and local-level partnerships to address maternal mental health, and the task force must share those opportunities with state governors.
Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act
This bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include data on certain maternal health outcomes in its broadband health mapping tool. This is an online platform that allows users to visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data at national, state, and county levels. The FCC must consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine which maternal health outcomes should be incorporated.
Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022 or the Into the Light for MMH and SUD Act of 2022
This bill reauthorizes through FY2028 a program that addresses maternal depression and, among other changes, expands its scope to include mental health and substance use disorders. It also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to maintain a national hotline to provide mental health and substance use disorder resources to pregnant and postpartum women and their families.
Omnibus Spending Package Updates
- Overall, Public health investments increase across the board—of note, funding for CDC’s public health infrastructure grants increased to $350 million.
- Postpartum Medicaid extension has been made permanent (from the five years in ARP), but not mandatory.
- Statement from President Joe Biden on Passage of the Bipartisan Year-End Omnibus “The bipartisan funding bill advances key priorities for our country and caps off a year of historic bipartisan progress for the American people… and provides the highest funding level for the Violence Against Women Act in history….. And, it’ll strengthen worker protections for pregnant women
Recent Decisions regarding Mifepristone
- The FDA is permanently lifting the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone and establishing a new program to certify both brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies to dispense the medication. While this opens the door to more access points for mifepristone in theory, it remains to be seen which pharmacies will participate in this new program. At the same time, medication abortion care remains subject to bans and unnecessary restrictions in many states.
- The Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel Provided clearance of U.S. Postal Service to deliver medication abortion. This action is not a violation of Comstock laws.