In the News

U.S. Representatives Kevin Hern of Oklahoma and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio work to protect life at all stages

Staff Report, The Oklahoma City Sentinel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In early December, Representative Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa and Ways & Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Acting Ranking Member Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., R-Ohio) led a push for information, through a letter to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO). The letter requested information on federally funded programs available to pregnant women & parents of young children.
“In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, it is imperative that we not only fight to protect life at all stages, but also make it as easy as possible for pregnant women and parents to care for their children,” said Rep. Hern & Dr. Wenstrup said in the communication, a copy of which was shared with The Oklahoma City Sentinel and other news organizations.
“Identifying which federal programs are available to expecting mothers & young parents and removing any undue burdens of access is necessary to ensure they receive proper care. We look forward to GAO’s timely response.”
The full text of the letter is available at this link:
The text is also posted below:
Gene Dodaro
Comptroller General of the United States
U.S. Government Accountability Office
441 G St NW
Washington, D.C. 20548
Dear Mr. Dodaro,
The historic Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision is an opportunity to protect not only the unborn but their mothers and families as well. Across the country there are more than 2,700 pro-life pregnancy care centers dedicated to protecting life at all stages and providing new mothers with the resources they need. Pro-life states have already created programs to provide women with safe alternatives to abortion.
[1 - Dobbs doc update.indd (]
In Oklahoma, Governor [Kevin] Stitt created the Helping Every Life and Parent (HELP) Task Force which is dedicated to supporting crisis pregnancy centers, providing community resources for mothers faced with unplanned pregnancy, and empowering non-profits and faith-based organizations to support families and mothers in their communities.
[2 -]
With over 90 federal welfare programs totaling $1.78 trillion[3], the resources to help women and families may already exist. As Congress, we should be working to remove the red tape and obstacles that make it difficult for the intended recipients of these programs to access the assistance they need before we create new programs that may address the same population’s needs.
[3] Federal Spending on Benefits and Services for People with Low Income: FY2008-FY2020 (]
We are writing to request that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate and report on the federally funded programs available to pregnant women as well as women and families with children up to six years of age. To this end we ask GAO to compile a report with the following information:
* Please provide a complete list of the federally funded health care, welfare, education, workforce and training, or other means-tested programs or grants available to pregnant women as well as women and families with children up to six years of age.
- Disaggregate by eligibility threshold, particularly whether there is an income or asset limit.
- Further disaggregate differences in state eligibility differences.

* How many women in each state are eligible for each program or grants?
* How many of these women have been able to access these programs or grants?
* How many children in each state are eligible for each program or grants?
* How many children have been able to access the programs or grants?
* What is the total subsidy that a family with children under the age of six who make less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level receives from these programs or grants?
* What is the total state contributions to these programs or grants?
* How are states directing the funding from these programs?
* What are the outcomes of each program?
* Which programs do not have available outcome data?

Also, of these programs:
* Are any of these programs or grants duplicative?
* Which are not achieving the outcomes indicated by statute?
* Which are not reaching their target populations, by percentage of target population?

We appreciate your consideration of this request, and look forward to working with you on this matter.
Kevin Hern, Member of Congress
Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., Member of Congress