As a husband and proud father of three amazing kids, I know the incredible joys and challenges that parenthood can bring. Every new parent should have access to the resources they need to succeed and thrive. I also know the truism “when mom is happy, everyone is happy.” 

From convenient and affordable maternal and prenatal care, to childcare and post-partum support — improving the lives and well-being of new mothers and families in our region is something we all can agree on. 

Partisan politicians in Congress and Washington always look for issues to divide us when in fact the vast majority of Pennsylvanians are united on so many. As I go community to community — I’m struck by the amount of people looking for new leadership that can bring us together. Maternal healthcare is one of those opportunities. 

I believe that all life has unique value and carries inestimable worth endowed by our Creator. This foundational sensibility also undergirded America’s founding that emphasized the rights of free people. I’m pro-life, I believe in commonsense family planning and compassionate exceptions when it comes to rare cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, and I oppose efforts to implement a federal abortion ban. 

After the Dobbs case returned abortion laws to the states, we have seen some unintended consequences of poorly written laws, including recently in Alabama and Arizona. I believe that when Alabama and Arizona lawmakers wrote the laws, they failed to take into account the effect it could have on women and families in our modern society. 

I strongly support the ability of women to choose IVF as a way to become pregnant, and would oppose any legislation to restrict the practice. I also recognize that a consensus does not exist in this country over abortion — and would oppose efforts to nationalize abortion policy on the right or the left. Instead, I want to see as many moms and dads as possible experience the same joy of having children as Kelsey and I have — and reduce the hardships that many young families face. 

As a state representative, I have a strong record of compassionate, pro-family support. From voting to improve funding and access to milk banks, to supporting reduced barriers to childcare, to fully funding breast and reproductive cancer screenings, to increasing the child tax credit for families. There is more Congress can do, but it won’t happen if we continue to demonize each other rather than focusing on where we can all agree: when mom is happy — everyone is happy. 

Strong communities have always been the backbone of our country and they are the key to bringing our country back together in this moment. Uniting around a vision for improved maternal care is a critical component of coming together as Americans and building a brighter future.

Rep. Rob Mercuri represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He is the Republican nominee for Congress from Pennsylvania’s 17th district.

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