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With the pro-life movement's phase one complete, Marco Rubio outlines his vision for a 'post-Roe America'
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With the pro-life movement's phase one complete, Marco Rubio outlines his vision for a 'post-Roe America'

Pro-life Republicans have for years faced accusations from Democrats that they do not care what happens to families once children are born, that they have no plan to help expecting mothers with unplanned pregnancies. In answer to this accusation, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has put forward "a pro-life plan for post-Roe America."

In a framework released Friday, Rubio outlined his vision for what Congress should do to support pregnant women and new moms, as well as those with young children, now that states are permitted to regulate or outlaw abortion. His proposals, collectively called the "Providing for Life Act," would create a federal paid leave program, expand child tax credits, and make several reforms to child support and welfare programs.

“For years, I have emphasized that Congress can and must do more for unborn children and their mothers,” Rubio said in a statement. “We need to adopt pro-life policies that support families, rather than destroy them. This comprehensive legislation would make a real difference to American parents and children in need.”

Rubio's plan includes legislation he's previously introduced that would allow parents, including parents of adopted children, to use up to three months of their Social Security benefits to finance paid paternal leave.

The plan also calls for another expansion of the Child Tax Credit, building on 2017 legislation he sponsored with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Rubio suggests a credit of up to $3,500 per child, and $4,500 per child for children under the age of 6, including unborn children.

Additionally, the Florida Republican wants to strengthen enforcement of child support laws; increase funding and expand access to the federal Women, Infants, and Children program; make the adoption tax credit fully refundable; remove barriers to faith-based organizations partnering with federal social services; create a federal clearinghouse for pregnant women to have easy access to support and resources; provide federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers; and protect the rights of pregnant students and their babies.

"All these steps and more would provide real, meaningful aid to mothers and their babies," Rubio wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner.

"Now that Roe has been overturned, I hope my colleagues in Congress realize the importance of this moment and support my bill accordingly."

Rubio announced his plan after the Supreme Court on Friday followed through with its leaked decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, overturning court landmark precedents that had established a constitutional right to abortion.

The court's ruling means that abortion is no longer federally protected, and states may regulate or ban abortion as they see fit according to the will of voters. Virtually every pro-life Republican in states that have enacted bans on abortion has acknowledged that further action is needed to protect and support expecting mothers, especially those with unwanted pregnancies.

Some states have already begun to take action. South Dakota on Friday launched a new website that directs pregnant women and mothers of new children to resources offering prenatal care, financial assistance, or even adoptive services if needed.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem also called for a special session of the South Dakota legislature Friday to take up bills to support women and families.

“Every abortion always had two victims: the unborn child and the mother. Today’s decision will save unborn lives in South Dakota, but there is more work to do,” Noem said. “We must do what we can to help mothers in crisis know that there are options and resources available for them. Together, we will ensure that abortion is not only illegal in South Dakota – it is unthinkable.”

In Mississippi, where a 15-week abortion ban was at the center of the Supreme Court's decision, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has previously said that overturning Roe "is just the beginning" for the pro-life movement.

"The next phase of the pro-life movement is about, what are we doing to help those babies that maybe are -- they do go to full term that the moms do have? And what we're trying to do is focus on making adoption easier in Mississippi. We're focusing on improving our foster care system," Reeves said.

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