Tuesday, State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), 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. 

“The cuts proposed in the state budget are concerning," said Rep. Clyde.  "Taking away these essential services will endanger the lives of thousands of women, and could make our already too high infant mortality rate even higher.  I hope legislators from both parties will come together to restore these critical services for Ohio families.”

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.

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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