House Bill looks to protect teen mothers across state

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:20 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Giving young mothers the tools they need to succeed is the goal of the proposed House Bill 1161 which would create support for pregnant and parenting students.

The bill gives pregnant students the ability to miss school for doctors’ appointments and make up assignments at a later date among other things.

“Giving them that privacy giving them the ability to miss school without it becoming problematic and those are kind of things are important if we are going to keep them in school on the path of education and hopefully to graduate,” Representative Aaron Pilkington said.

According to the Arkansas Times the Arkansas teen birth rate is 27.8 per 1,000, while the national rate is 15.4 per 1,000 in 2021 which was the second highest in the country.

With abortion now illegal in Arkansas, Pilkington wants to make sure the resources are there if there is a situation where a young woman gets pregnant.

“We want to be a prolife state and we want to say we care about mother and baby, and I think this flexibility is part of that,” Pilkington said.

The bill would also provide mothers who attend public school with childcare after birth whether that be through the district or school itself which is all a way to give back to the people.

‘This goes along with us trying to be a state that is a better place to raise a family and a state that cares about their people from conception to natural death,” Pilkington said.