October 26, 2023

Duckworth, Pressley Renew Push to Ensure Paid Leave Benefits for Families Experiencing Pregnancy Loss, Invest in Research to Improve Care

Bicameral bill would shine light on pregnancy loss, increase access to resources, workforce support and patient-centered care


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – During Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) are making a renewed push to raise awareness about pregnancy loss—which too often goes underreported, with hopeful parents left to grieve in silence—and establish new paid leave benefits for workers across the nation who are experiencing painful, traumatic challenges while seeking to start or grow their family. The bicameral Support Through Loss Act would increase access to resources and patient-centered care while providing 7 days of paid leave for all American workers after they experience some of the many challenges that hopeful parents face on the road to parenthood—including a miscarriage or an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedure, adoption arrangement or surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.

The decision to start a family can be so many things—thrilling, life-changing and carefully thought out—but the road to parenthood is not always easy and for many, it can be full of setbacks and disappointments,” said Sen. Duckworth. “My family faced our own heartbreaks and challenges when growing our family and I wouldn’t have my two girls today if it weren’t for the miracle of IVF. The Support Through Loss Act would provide so many hopeful parents with the time they need to grieve and heal when living through difficult losses, which is why I’m so proud to reintroduce this bill with Congresswoman Pressley to shine a light on these all-too-common experiences of families across the nation.”

“Maya Angelou once said ‘there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.’ And today, due to cultural stigma and a lack of awareness, many families and many people suffer in silence when experiencing a pregnancy loss. This must change,” said Rep. Pressley. “People experiencing pregnancy loss should know that they are not alone and they deserve to be met with care, compassion, support, and paid leave. The Support Through Loss Act is long-overdue legislation that provides resources, workforce support, and patient-centered care to help families recover and heal. I am grateful to Senator Duckworth and our advocates for their ongoing partnership in crafting this critical legislation.”

At least 10-15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, but too often this common occurrence of pregnancy loss among families is underreported. The Support Through Loss Act would also direct the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and disseminate public information regarding pregnancy loss and invest in long-overdue research with the National Institutes of Health.

Specifically, the Support Through Loss Act would:

  • Ensure employers provide at least seven days of paid leave for workers to process and address health—including mental health—needs following a pregnancy loss, an unsuccessful assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption arrangement, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a medical diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility.
  • Direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and disseminate educational resources for the public regarding pregnancy loss and the range of treatment options for pregnancy loss, including recurrent pregnancy loss; and
  • Provides $45 million in annual funding for the National Institutes of Health to expand, intensify and coordinate federal research and programs with respect to pregnancy loss to help develop a better understanding of the problem and potentially suggest best practices to reduce pregnancy loss.

A copy of the full bill text can be found using the link here.

Along with Duckworth, the Support Through Loss Act is cosponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

This legislation is supported by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Bobbie, Building Military Families Network, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Family Values @ Work Action, Family Values Network, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Institute for Reproductive Grief, MANA: A National Latina Organization, March of Dimes, MomsRising, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Council of Jewish Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Poppy Seed Health, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Association, Reproductive Freedom for All, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, RH Impact: The Collaborative for Equity & Justice, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Women’s Health Network, URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, What to Expect Project, Workplace Fairness and American Society for Reproductive Medicine.