Ind. State Representative Pushing For Legislation To Help Maternal Mortality Rate

Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) plans to introduce legislation during the 2022 Legislative Session that asks the GA to study doulas.

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INDIANAPOLIS – A state lawmaker is calling for the legislature to take action to address maternal mortality rate.

State Representative Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) plans to introduce legislation during the 2022 Legislative Session that asks the General Assembly to study doulas and their impact on pregnancy outcomes.

Governor Holcomb addressed his commitment to improve maternal health in Indiana during his 2021 State of the State address. The governor emphasized his support of legislation to provide pregnancy accommodations to working Hoosier mothers, but the legislation failed to pass.

As did Summer’s House Bill 1155, which would have provided Medicaid coverage for an eligible pregnant woman for the duration of the pregnancy and for the one-year postpartum period that begins on the last day of the pregnancy.

“I keep hearing state leaders say they're committed to improving maternal health, but no real action is taken,” Summers said. “We still have Black and Hispanic mothers dying at higher rates than white mothers and we've found that the majority of these deaths are preventable. Hoosier mothers need more than words. They need action.”

Currently, the State of Indiana ranks third for the highest maternal mortality rate in the country. Indiana is joined by Georgia and Louisiana with rates above 40 deaths per 100,000 births from 2011 to 2015.

Studies show that doulas improve maternal health outcomes and lower rates of medical intervention during birth.

Summers hopes that by studying doulas and diving deeper into their services and care, the Legislature will have a better understanding of why Hoosier mothers need doulas.

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