There are many things that make me proud to be an Ohioan, but our infant mortality rate is not one of them. The Buckeye State has the unfortunate distinction of ranking eighth for highest number of infant deaths.
We can, and we must, do more to implement comprehensive policies that will ensure safe deliveries for mothers and a strong start for babies.
Unfortunately, the United States is the only developed country whose maternal mortality rates continue to rise; globally, maternal mortality continues to fall. We are losing about 700 women a year to pregnancy related-complications and about 60,000 women endure severe pregnancy-related complications each year.
That’s why I am pleased to share that legislation I cosponsored, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, was recently passed out of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and is now one step closer to becoming law.
This bill would directly address this nationwide crisis.
The grants included in the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would provide community-based organizations the tools they need to improve training for prenatal care, labor care, birthing, and postpartum care.
Beyond that, this legislation will provide additional grants to address complications experienced by mothers in rural and undeserved areas. This funding will be instrumental in improving telehealth resources and networks, solutions experts have proven to save lives.
Efforts like this build on laws like the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which was signed into law in 2018. I was proud to cosponsor this bill, and it’s already making a difference to help reverse our nation’s rising maternal mortality rates.
This bill established committees and provided them the resources to review pregnancy-related deaths and then develop recommendations on how to prevent these losses in the future.
In addition, I am also a cosponsor of the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act that would reauthorize the Healthy Start Program.
Nearly six out of every 1,000 babies born in our nation do not make it to their first birthday, and this bill is a major step forward to fight for more birthdays. The program uses a community-based approach and provides women and families with health care services throughout pregnancy and beyond, in addition to education on topics from breastfeeding to job training.
Ultimately, we all share the goal of strong, healthy families. These efforts will give thousands of Americans the healthy start they deserve, and it’s encouraging to see the bipartisan effort to help families across Ohio’s 15th District and across the nation.
If you would like to learn more about the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, or other efforts to support healthy mothers and infants, please call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2015.
Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) represents the state’s 15th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.