NWLC Statement Ahead of House Committee Markup on Anti-Abortion Bill

WASHINGTON — The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a statement today ahead of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce’s markup of the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act. NWLC and 47 other advocates also sent a letter to Congress today laying out their concerns over the bill and the negative impacts it could have on pregnant and parenting students.

Bayliss Fiddiman, Director of Educational Equity and Senior Counsel at NWLC, released the following statement:

It is shameful that Republicans are attempting to package a thinly veiled anti-abortion bill as a so-called ‘Pregnant Students’ Rights Act.To be clear, this bill would do nothing to address the barriers that pregnant students face while pursuing their degrees. Instead, it would further perpetuate shame and stigma for pregnant and parenting students, as well as those who decide to have an abortion rather than carrying a pregnancy to term.

“We are calling on members of the House Education Committee to swiftly reject this phony legislation and focus instead on actions that would meaningfully protect pregnant or parenting students, such as expanding affordable child care and addressing basic needs like food and housing.

“Furthermore, we continue to call on the Biden administration to take immediate action to release the new Title IX rules, which would be infinitely more helpful for pregnant and parenting students than passage of the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act.”

NWLC and other advocates are calling on lawmakers to instead consider the following supports, which would better protect pregnant and parenting students:

  • Strengthened Title IX protections
  • Nondiscrimination protections at the state and local level
  • Accessible and affordable child care, and increased funding for on-campus child care
  • Access to early education and pre-kindergarten services
  • Transportation access
  • Basic needs security (including food, housing, clothing, etc.)
  • Flexible school attendance policies
  • Lactation accommodations
  • Less stigma and shame around young parenthood
  • Increased accountability measures for institutions who fail to protect pregnant and parenting students
  • Federal funding to support campus Title IX offices’ work to prevent and investigate discrimination against pregnant students
  • Mandatory data collection on students’ parenting statuses to track degree completion.

For more information on how Congress can better support pregnant and parenting students, click here.

Update, January 18, 2024: The National Women’s Law Center sent an updated letter today ahead of the House vote on the so-called “Pregnant Students Rights Act.”