Exhibit Theme

Protecting Mothers and Infants

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H.R. 12634, A bill to encourage...
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H.R. 12634, A bill to encourage instruction in the hygiene of maternity and infancy..., July 1, 1918

Montana Representative Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, introduced this bill to address critical health needs of mothers and infants through clinics and health education. Childbirth was a leading cause of death for women, and the U.S. lagged behind many nations in infant mortality. A version of this bill became the Sheppard-Towner Act in 1921.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration