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SPRINGFIELD— Two bills sponsored by State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) to help lower the alarming maternal death rate in Illinois passed the General Assembly this week.

“We’ve lost far too many mothers to child birth, especially women of color,” Sims said. “We have to do all we can to prevent this from happening in the future, including ensuring our medical professionals are receiving the proper training to save women who find themselves in crisis as they bring life into this world.”

According to the Illinois Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report released by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in October 2018, an average of 73 women die annually within a year of giving birth, and black women are six times more likely than white women to be one of them because of a pregnancy-related condition.

Under House Bill 2895, IDPH must work toward birth equity by developing best practices for birthing facilities and ensuring all of them do yearly maternal hypertension and postpartum hemorrhage training for providers that care for pregnant and postpartum women. The department’s report showed these were among the top pregnancy-related conditions.

“Black women need to see more people that look like them in our doctor’s offices and hospitals,” Sims said. “Far too often they are not taken seriously when they seek medical attention. We must strive to diversify the field of physicians to make sure they receive sound medical advice.”

House Bill 2896 would create a Diversity in Health Care Professions Task Force to find ways to encourage more inclusion of minority physicians in Illinois. The bill requires the task force to prepare annual summary reports and recommendations to the governor and legislature starting Dec. 1, 2020.

HB 2896 was approved by the legislature and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

While HB 2895 was sent back to the House for approval of Senate amendments. If they approve those amendments, the bill will then be sent to the governor.

Category: Press Releases

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