Sheppard–Towner Maternity and Infancy Act

On November 23, 1921, President Warren G. Harding signed the Sheppard–Towner Maternity and Infancy Act into law. Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas, a proponent of women’s suffrage, and Representative Horace Mann Towner of Iowa, became the main sponsors of the bill.

To combat elevated mortality rates among mothers and newborns, Sheppard–Towner provided $1 million annually in federal aid (for a five-year period) to state programs for mothers and babies, particularly prenatal and newborn care facilities in rural states.

Historians acknowledge it as a landmark in the development of social welfare programs in the U.S.

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