State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced new legislation to help ensure young pregnant women in Ohio have a say in their own healthcare decisions.

“I believe that all expectant mothers should have access to healthcare and safe delivery options, regardless of their age,” said Boggs. “I hope this legislation will encourage expectant mothers to get the care they need to support their health, and their baby’s health, even if their legal guardians are unwilling to support their pregnancy.”

Ohio law currently includes a judicial emancipation process for minors who wish to make their own medical decisions. However, many pregnancy-related medical conditions must be immediately addressed in order to ensure the best health outcome for the mother and future child.

“A labor and delivery nurse actually brought this important issue to my attention,” said Antonio. “Too many young women in Ohio are not receiving the prenatal treatment they desperately need. This legislation will help ensure happy, healthy babies are brought into the world.”

HB 302 will allow pregnant minors to consent to healthcare from the prenatal stage through delivery.

“As a nurse it is my duty to operate as a patient advocate. I reached out to Rep. Antonio to do just that – to advocate for my patients,” said Maureen Sweeney, a Cleveland-area nurse and constituent of Rep. Antonio. “Under current law minors are unable to consent to procedures during pregnancy and later during delivery, resulting in delayed medical intervention. Pregnancy should not be a traumatic experience. My hope is that with this legislation young women will be able to consent to care, resulting in healthier outcomes for themselves and their children.”

HB 302 will be considered by a committee once the Ohio House of Representatives returns from the summer recess in September. 

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