What War? Progressives Fight On Behalf Of Mothers


Progressive legislators have consistently supported policies that benefit mothers and pregnant women, from passing the Affordable Care Act to supporting family leave legislation and funding for Planned Parenthood. Yet in spite of this record, right-wing media are leveling baseless accusations that progressives have launched a "war on moms."

Progressives Have Consistently Supported Policies That Benefit Mothers And Pregnant Women


Affordable Care Act Covers Many Preventive Services For Pregnant Women. From a fact sheet on the list of preventive services covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from the Department of Health and Human Services:

Covered Preventive Services for Women, Including Pregnant Women

Note: Services marked with an asterisk ( * ) must be covered with no cost-sharing in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012. See Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Access to Preventive Services for Women.

  • Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
  • Bacteriuria urinary tract or other infection screening for pregnant women
  • BRCA counseling about genetic testing for women at higher risk
  • Breast Cancer Mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
  • Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
  • Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, as well as access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women*
  • Cervical Cancer screening for sexually active women
  • Chlamydia Infection screening for younger women and other women at higher risk
  • Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, not including abortifacient drugs*
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling for all women*
  • Folic Acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
  • Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes*
  • Gonorrhea screening for all women at higher risk
  • Hepatitis B screening for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening and counseling for sexually active women*
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test: high risk HPV DNA testing every three years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older*
  • Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
  • Rh Incompatibility screening for all pregnant women and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
  • Tobacco Use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) counseling for sexually active women*
  • Syphilis screening for all pregnant women or other women at increased risk
  • Well-woman visits to obtain recommended preventive services for women under 65* [Healthcare.gov, updated 1/20/11, emphasis original]

Health Care Law Funds Home Visits For Expecting Families. From a CNN report on "lesser known effects" of the Affordable Care Act:

9. Home visits to expecting families

The law also includes funding support for early childhood home visitation for people expecting children and families who have young children. Professionals come to the home to provide information and support. The aim is to reduce child abuse and neglect, promote the health of mothers and their children and prioritize high-risk populations. Research supports such positive outcomes. The health care law provides $1.5 billion for related state-based initiatives over five years.

Effective date: Began in 2010 with $100 million for fiscal year. [CNN.com, updated 3/26/12, emphasis original]

Democrats Supported Affordable Care Act; Republicans Unanimously Opposed It. The Affordable Care Act passed in the Senate with 60 Democratic votes. No Republicans supported the bill. In the House, the bill passed 219-212, with every Republican voting against it. [Senate.gov, accessed 4/13/12; Clerk.house.gov, accessed 4/13/12]


Planned Parenthood Provided Pregnancy Tests And Prenatal Services To Over 1 Million Women In 2010. According to a Planned Parenthood fact sheet, in 2010, the organization provided pregnancy tests to 1,113,460 women and prenatal services to 31,098. [PlannedParenthood.org, accessed 4/13/12]

February 2011: Democrats Overwhelmingly Opposed Defunding Planned Parenthood. In February 2011, the House approved an amendment proposed by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) that would have "cut off funding to Planned Parenthood," as Politico noted at the time. The vote was 240-185, with 230 Republicans and 10 Democrats voting to defund Planned Parenthood and 178 Democrats and 7 Republicans voting against the measure. [Politico, 2/18/11; Clerk.house.gov, accessed 4/13/12]

April 2011: Senate Democrats Rejected House Attempt To Defund Planned Parenthood. In April 2011, Senate Democrats rejected an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. The vote was 42-58; every Democrat voted against the measure, while 42 Republicans voted in favor of it. [The Washington Post, 4/14/2011;Senate.gov, accessed 4/13/12]


In 1993, President Clinton Signed Family Medical Leave Act, Which "Guarantee[d] Workers Up To 12 Weeks Of Unpaid Leave For Medical Emergencies." In February 1993, President Clinton signed into law the Family Medical Leave Act, which "require[d] employers to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with birth, adoption or a serious illness affecting themselves or members of their immediate families." From The New York Times:

Congress gave President Clinton his first legislative victory tonight, passing the family-leave bill to guarantee workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical emergencies.

The Senate passed the bill 71 to 27, and the House followed on a 247 to 152 vote, just minutes before midnight.

Mr. Clinton plans to sign the bill on Friday morning to make the political point that domestic legislation, stalemated during the Bush Administration, would now pour forth because Democrats control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The House, which passed a similar bill late Wednesday night, had to take a second vote because the Senate version included a statement about homosexuals in the military.


The family-leave bill was vetoed twice by President George Bush, who said it would impose unnecessary costs on businesses. It would require employers to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with birth, adoption or a serious illness affecting themselves or members of their immediate families. Employers would have to maintain health insurance coverage. [The New York Times, 2/5/93]

Majority Of Congressional Democrats Backed Family Medical Leave Act. In the Senate, the vote for the bill was 71-27; all Democratic senators but two voted in favor of it. In the House, the vote on the amended version of the bill, which included the Senate's amendment relating to gays in the military, was 247-152. There were 210 Democrats and 36 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, while 123 Republicans and 29 Democrats voted against it. [Senate.gov, accessed 4/13/12; Clerk.house.gov, accessed 4/13/12]

In 2002, California Becomes "First State To Enact A Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program." On September 23, 2002, then-Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA) signed a paid family leave bill that made California the first state to enact such a law. From the Los Angeles Times:

Gov. Gray Davis has decided to sign legislation allowing most California workers to take paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child or to care for sick family members, administration officials said Sunday.

Davis will sign the measure today at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, officials said, capping one of the most closely watched issues of the legislative session and making California the first state to enact a comprehensive paid family leave program. The bill is seen by supporters as a model for the nation.

Under the measure, which was written by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), most workers will be paid about 55% of their salary for six weeks of leave for a new child or sick relative. The program will expand the state fund providing insurance for disabled workers but will be funded entirely by employee payroll deductions, averaging about $26 a year. About 13 million of California's 16 million workers would be eligible.

Labor unions and women's groups across the country hailed the Democratic governor's decision to make California the first state to enact a comprehensive paid family leave program. [Los Angeles Times, 9/23/02]

All But One Democrat In California Legislature Backed Paid Family Leave Act. The bill, written by Sen. Shelia Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), passed in the California Senate 21-11, with all aye votes coming from Democrats and all no votes coming from Republicans. In the California Assembly, the bill passed 46-31, with 46 Democrats voting for the bill and 1 voting against and 30 Republicans voting against. [Leginfo.ca.gov, accessed 4/13/12, accessed 4/13/12]


Democratic Legislators Introduce Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011. On August 1, 2011, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011. According to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, the bill:

1. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace.

2. Protects breastfeeding mothers by ensuring that executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers (in addition to non-exempt employees covered by the previous amendment), have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace. [USBreastFeeding.org, accessed 4/13/12]

Co-Sponsors Of Breastfeeding Bills Were All Democrats Or Legislators Who Caucus With Democrats. In the Senate, Merkley's bill had four co-sponsors, three of whom are Democrats and one of whom was Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. In the House, Maloney's bill had 11 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats. [GovTrackUS.us, accessed 4/13/12, accessed 4/13/12]

In Spite Of This, Right-Wing Media Accuse Progressives Of "Launch[ing]" A "War On Moms"

On The Five, Fox's Gutfeld Says, "Now We Have A War On Moms." On the April 12 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Dana Perino responded to Rosen's comments and said, in part, "But I'm glad -- if the war -- if the phony war on women that they started is over, great. Then we won." Co-host Greg Gutfeld responded by saying, "Now we have a war on moms. Even better." [Fox News, The Five, 4/12/12]

Wash. Times Editorial: "The Left's War On Moms." From the April 12 editorial in The Washington Times, headlined "The left's war on moms":

Sometimes a rare flash of honesty makes all the difference in politics. Democratic operative Hilary Rosen single-handedly changed the course of the 2012 election with her dig at Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. "Guess what, [she] has actually never worked a day in her life," Ms. Rosen said. Mrs. Romney shot back, "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work." In that instant, the political narrative shifted from the phony war on women to the liberal war on moms.


Ms. Rosen reflects the old-school liberal contempt for women who choose to raise families rather than enter the workforce. Her condescension hearkens back at least to the Carter era, but the country has since moved on. Twenty-first-century Americans are comfortable with the idea that there are many paths available to women, many routes to success and personal fulfillment. Some women work full careers, with or without children. Others take time off from their professions to raise children. Some answer the calling of full-time motherhood and devote their energies to their families and communities, engaging in volunteer work and expressing virtues that the country could use more of. Any of these paths is a valid personal choice, but to liberals, the stay-at-home mom is somehow less of a woman. To them, the word "housewife" is synonymous with "loser." [The Washington Times, 4/12/12]

Limbaugh: "The Obama Administration Has Launched Its War On Moms."On the April 12 broadcast of his Premiere Radio Networks show, Rush Limbaugh said of Rosen's comments:

LIMBAUGH: Now we find out that there is genuine hostility for women who do not work, who only stay at home and raise their families. So the Obama administration has just effectively, whether they know it or not, launched a War on Motherhood via Hilary Rosen on CNN last night. Obama and the Democrats are not content to just divide men and women. They want to go deeper and divide working mothers from stay-at-home mothers, and they want to attach the virtue to working mothers and assign no virtue to stay-at-home moms.


LIMBAUGH: So it looks like what we've got here is we've got a war on mothers. The Obama administration has launched its War on Moms.

The following graphic was posted on the transcript of the segment on Limbaugh's website:

[Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/12/12, via RushLimbaugh.com]

CNN's Loesch: "Democrats Declare 'War On Moms.'" In an April 12 post on Breitbart.com's Big Journalism, CNN contributor and Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch titled a post attacking Rosen's comments "Democrats Declare 'War On Moms.'" [Big Journalism, Breitbart.com, 4/12/12]

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Health Care
The Washington Times
Rush Limbaugh, Dana Loesch
The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Dana Show
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