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Rep. Howse announces bill to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes signed into law

Democratic priority bill helps address racial disparities in infant mortality rates
June 22, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS—Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today announced that House Bill (HB) 11, her bill to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes, was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday. 

“House Bill 11 demonstrates our commitment to fixing a broken healthcare system which has been proven to cause disparities in Black maternal health outcomes,” said Rep. Howse, co-founder of the Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus. “Enacting this bill is a milestone, but there is still more work to be done. We will continue to fight for our mothers, babies and future generations to be healthy and thrive in the state of Ohio!”

HB 11 will require the Ohio Department of Health to establish a grant program for the provision of group-based prenatal health care services to pregnant Medicaid recipients residing in areas of the state with high preterm birth rates. 

Additionally, the bill will require Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation medications and services.

According to a report by the Ohio Department of Health in 2018, Black infants die in Ohio at more than two-and-a-half times the rate of white infants. HB 11 becomes law as Ohio House Democratic lawmakers continue to call for meaningful action to address racial health disparities, including the passage of HCR 31 to declare racism a public health crisis.