Sometimes, the simplest acts of charity can make all the difference in the world to a pregnant mother.
For decades, pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life organizations have been providing that support in the form of counseling, pregnancy tests, baby clothes, prenatal vitamins, temporary shelter, scholarships and more.
Including diapers — millions upon millions of diapers.
Now that Roe v. Wade is gone and more babies are being born, pro-life advocates are doing even more to provide free and low-cost diapers – a major expense – to families with young children. And one of those ways is through legislation.
The 19th News described 2023 as “a banner year in terms of diaper legislation.” Bills to exempt diapers from sales taxes passed in Florida, Maryland, Colorado, Virginia, Texas, Iowa, Maine and North Dakota this year, and Ohio and Nevada are considering similar measures, according to the report.
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In Florida, pro-life Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the legislation in connection to efforts to protect unborn babies from abortion. DeSantis signed a heartbeat law in April.
“No sales tax on any baby item,” DeSantis told Newsmax in May. “We want to be family friendly…Cribs, strollers, clothing, diapers, wipes — any of that is tax free.”
Pro-life organizations also support the diaper legislation. For example, North Dakota Right to Life said ending the sales tax on diapers was part of its goal this year to “solidify North Dakota as not only a pro-life state but a pro-family state.”
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, pro-life Republican Gov. Bill Lee led the state legislature in passing a “pro-life” and “pro-family” program to cover half the cost of diapers for infants and toddlers in the state Medicaid program, TennCare; it is scheduled to go into effect in January, according to the report.
Tennessee mother Olivia Dunn, 23, who receives free diapers through the Nashville Diaper Connection, said the help makes a big difference for her family.
“Those things make you feel less alone in the journey of building your life and becoming parents, and it gives you a little bit of support and feeling like there are people out there who are there to help and provide resources and you’re not having to figure this crazy thing out on your own,” Dunn told the news outlet.
Many government assistance programs like WIC and food stamps do not cover diapers, so ending the sales tax is one way to help ease the financial burden on families.
Since Roe was overturned, Lacey Gero, of the National Diaper Bank Network, a lobbying group that advocates for such bills, said her organization has “seen an increase in support from the Republicans … just wanting to support families.”
Gero told The 19th that families spend as much as $100 a month on diapers, and ending the sales tax could save up to almost a month’s worth of the expense per year.
Pro-life advocates understand how critically important support is for pregnant mothers. It could mean life or death for her child. A new peer-reviewed study found that two-thirds of women seeking abortions would have chosen life if they had better support for themselves and their babies.
Pro-lifers have been striving to provide that support for decades.
Exactly how many diapers pro-life organizations have supplied to women in need is unknown. But the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. gave away 1.3 million packs of diapers just in 2019. That same year, they also provided more than 730,000 pregnancy tests, nearly half a million ultrasounds, and more than 2 million baby outfits, according to the report.
And that support continues to grow. New maternity homes are being built, states are expanding Medicaid for new moms, and Christian colleges are setting up dorms and daycare centers for parenting students. The legislative and community-based efforts are too numerous to name, but they prove that the pro-life movement is dedicated not only to protecting unborn babies from abortion but also to providing the care that they and their families need to thrive.