By Joni Ernst
This week, we witnessed Americans from tiny towns and big cities come together on the National Mall in celebration of the gift we all share – life. During this year’s March for Life, thousands gathered to focus on our desire to extend love and care for both the mother and child during pregnancy and in the years after.
This mission reminds me of the heroic work of pregnancy care centers and maternity homes that stand at the forefront of this fight. These centers serve as the bedrock of families across the nation, providing parents with compassionate support and resources like housing, transportation, education, and health care.
That’s because being pro-life means recognizing the joint responsibility of a mother, father, and society at large to protect and nurture each and every child from the moment that it is created throughout his or her life. To truly change our culture, communities must go all in on life and wrap around families who are struggling.
As I travel throughout the state of Iowa, I am inspired by the life-affirming message of hope at resource centers and adoption facilities. Each and every day, these folks provide a roadmap to how we can truly achieve a society that respects the inherent dignity of each and every one of us and makes sure no mother faces the challenge of parenthood alone.
To support their work, I am leading the fight to safeguard taxpayer dollars for women’s health care by redirecting them from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s single largest provider of abortion, and instead using them to support other eligible entities, like community health centers, which provide important health care services but do not offer abortions.
In addition to supporting healthy families, my bill ensures Iowa taxpayers are not forced to fork out billions of dollars for an organization that violates the consciences of many Americans. To prevent this, the historically bipartisan Hyde Amendment has protected hard-earned taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. I’m dedicated to continuing this tradition to ensure Iowans do not have to foot the bill – literally – for abortions.
As a mom and soon-to-be grandma, I know it takes a village at every age and every stage to support a family. To help parents with little ones, I’m also working to increase the availability of affordable, high-quality childcare by allowing small, non-profit childcare providers, including religiously affiliated non-profits, to participate in Small Business Administration loan programs.
This week, I’m encouraged that many dedicated Americans came together during the March for Life, united by one message: life matters. We are stronger when we can tackle the challenge of pregnancy and parenthood by leaning on friends and family to get us through. It’s a precious thing when a child is brought into this world, something so valuable that a community must unite around mother and child, committed to protecting that life.
Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.