In 1918, 16,000 mothers died in childbirth and 250,000 infants died per year, often from preventable causes that resulted from lack of proper prenatal or obstetrical care. Women and infants in rural areas were at particularly high risk. In response to these conditions, Jeannette Rankin introduced H.R. 12634. The report accompanying the bill urged that “the waste of life at its source is itself an emergency which must be met by all possible means of instruction.” The bill provided funding for visiting nurses in rural areas, consultation centers for mothers and infants, hospital care for mothers, and instruction in maternal and infant hygiene. This bill did not pass; however, the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act (S. 1039), which grew out of the legislation Rankin introduced, passed in 1921.
This early version of H.R. 12634 shows typesetting marks, written in pencil, that indicate how the text should appear when printed. The marks may have been added by the committee during a markup or at the Government Printing Office (now called the Government Publishing Office), where government documents are produced and distributed.