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Democratic priority bill to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes heads to governor's desk

Bill helps address racial disparities in infant mortality rates
June 11, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS—Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today applauded the House concurrence of House Bill (HB) 11, her bill to improve prenatal and maternal health outcomes. This Democratic priority legislation now moves to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“I am committed to changing the narrative around health disparities and death among mothers in Ohio,” said Rep. Howse, co-founder of the Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus. “I am pleased with the passage of House Bill 11 and the impact it will have on future generations. There is still more work to be done, but we are prepared to continue to fight for our mothers and babies!”

HB 11 would 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 would 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. The passage of HB 11 comes 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.