A senator from Louisiana said that maternity leave must remain part of the healthcare bill once it has been finalised by the GOP because men should also have to pay for their part in pregnancy.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) noted on Wednesday 28 June that proposed bill by the Republicans, intended to replace the Obamacare health reforms, doesn't include maternity leave and prenatal care.
Obamacare currently requires all health plans to cover certain benefits. These include items such as prescription drugs, pregnancy care, and childbirth. But some Republican senators believe men should not have to pay for such health costs.
Speaking to reporters, the senator suggested that, as men have a role to play in pregnancy, the costs of health cover should be distributed fairly.
According to The Hill, Cassidy said: "Unless you have a common risk pool, you end up with policies that don't cover maternity. As best I can tell, women don't get pregnant without sperm."
Cassidy, who studied medicine at Louisiana State University, made the comments as members of the party work to piece together a healthcare bill that will pass a Senate vote. It was a similar point that was made by Representative John Shimkus (R-Ill) who spoke up about men having to pay for prenatal care.
Cassidy is known for more conservative views, though, including defunding Planned Parenthood and restrictions on abortion rights.
While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known. But despite getting the first reading of the bill through the House, the Senate has deep divisions on the matter, with millions set to lose their health cover.
Mid-terms are in less than a year and some senators are nervous that their seats could be at risk if the new bill has negative impacts on constituents. A vote was expected to take place this week, but roughly 12 Republican senators were against it.
The GOP is only able to lose two votes if to still pass the bill. A new date for a vote is expected to be some time after the 4 July recess.