Rep. Sykes on ABC 6

Tuesday State Reps. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron), with House Democratic lawmakers and healthcare advocates, discussed policies in the state budget that would limit pregnancy care, family planning and breast and cervical cancer treatment for lower income Ohioans. The changes in healthcare coverage are being proposed as Ohio ranks second highest in the nation for infant mortality. 


“Ohioans still need these safety net services, and leaving them without coverage will increase our infant mortality rate and risk the health and well-being of Ohio families,” said Rep. Sykes. “Reducing unintended pregnancies and making sure women have access to prenatal care are two of the most critical things we can do to prevent infant mortality. The governor’s changes could set us back at a time when we should be making progress on reducing infant mortality in our state.”


The policy changes in the governor’s budget would eliminate programs for prenatal care, family planning, and cancer prevention and treatment coverage for pregnant women earning between $21,708 and $31,460, up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.


The planned cuts were proposed despite U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data that suggests women who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a baby born at low birth weight and five times more likely to have their baby die before their first birthday.


“When we cut access to prenatal care, we risk worsening our state’s already dismal infant mortality rate,” said Rep. Johnson. “I encourage my colleagues to take a stand against these harmful budget provisions. We cannot abandon families when they need us most.”


In 2012, Ohio’s infant mortality rate was 7.56 per 1,000 live births, a number that has remained stagnant while the nation’s overall infant mortality rate has been in decline, according to the Ohio Department of Health.


Ohio’s black infant mortality rate is the second worst in the nation, at nearly 14 deaths per 1,000 births.


 

 
 
 
  
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