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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence’s Amendments on Women Servicemember Retention and Pregnant Veterans Included in Final House Passage of NDAA

September 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. Rep. Lawrence, Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, had two amendments included in the bill that improves retention of women servicemembers and establishes a doula pilot program.

“The House passage of the NDAA reaffirms the values of the United States, improves the livelihood of our servicemembers and their families, and strengthens American security and leadership at home and abroad,” said Rep. Lawrence. “As the Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, I’m working to end gender disparities in our military and promote equity for our women and men in uniform. I’m especially proud that my amendments were included to improve retention of women servicemembers and enhance maternal health outcomes for pregnant veterans.”

Women veterans are the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the VA health care system. Pregnant veterans are disproportionately impacted by mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Doulas have been shown to help mitigate and treat mental health disorders in pregnant women and new mothers. For further information on Rep. Lawrence’s amendments, please see below: 

Improve Retention of Women Servicemembers Amendment: The Secretaries of the military departments shall share and implement best practices (including use of civilian industry best practices) regarding the use of retention and exit survey data to identify barriers and lessons learned to improve the retention of female members of the Armed Forces under the jurisdiction of such Secretaries.

Establishing a doula pilot program Amendment: To encourage the use of doulas to support pregnant veterans and improve maternal health outcomes.