Foundation Weighs in on Federal Maternal Health Legislation
The Foundation is closely tracking and providing perspective to Congressional efforts related to maternal and neonatal health and well-being, especially as they may impact preeclampsia awareness and related care. Two pieces of legislation of interest are the PREEMIE (Prematurity Research Expansion and Education) Reauthorization Act and the Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction and Awareness Act.
The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Reps. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would expand research, education and intervention activities as they relate to preterm birth. The legislation will also work to promote the use of evidence-based standards of care for pregnant women. The original PREEMIE Act was signed into law in December 2006, and the programs supported through the law at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies and subsequent resources provided to states are in need of reauthorization in order to continue and expand.
The Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction and Awareness Act, sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) seeks to provide information to pregnant women and their health care providers about medications, chemical exposures, infections and other exposures linked to adverse outcomes to a healthy pregnancy, including birth defects. The legislation provides funding for pregnancy risk information services (PRIS) that provide counsel to women. Over the years, several of the centers that provide these services have closed due to lack of funding. Recent research has identified a link between women who suffer asthma being at greater risk for preeclampsia. The services offered through PRIS could offer resources to help women understand risks such as this.
The Preeclampsia Foundation joins the March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Women's Health, and Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses in supporting both of these important pieces of legislation.