Mothers and infants in Delaware can now receive expanded access to health care through new legislation signed into law Monday.
Gov. John Carney said the bills will expand health services statewide in hopes to lower infant and maternal mortality, and create healthy families.
"This package of legislation is important for our community,” the second-term Democrat said in a news release. “Every child deserves a first chance to succeed and every mother and family should feel supported throughout and after a pregnancy. These bills will help address infant and maternal mortality in our community and expand services to families across the state."
The six bills are part of "The Momnibus Act," a series of House legislation that plans to support pregnant women and mothers of infants with better care.
According to officials, each breakdown of the bills are as followed:
- House Bill 340 will rename the Child Death Review Commission, redefine maternal death, and establish diverse membership.
- House Bill 344(S) will require the Delaware Perinatal Quality Collaborative to provide bias and competency training for health care employees.
- House Bill 342 will expand on current restrictions for using restraints on women in labor, and will include women who are 13-weeks postpartum.
- House Bill 345 will include midwife and duola services to women who are pregnant or who have given birth within six months.
- House Bill 343 will require coverage for duola services by Medicaid providers.
- House Bill 234 will expand Medicaid postpartum coverage for a year.
Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown initially led the push for all six bills in the House. She spoke at the 2022 Delaware Momnibus expressing what the legislation means to women and mothers in the state.
“Black women made up one of every four women giving birth in Delaware between 2011 and 2018, but they made up half of the mothers who died in childbirth," Minor-Brown said. "These new laws are designed to help all Delaware mothers and infants, to improve their outcomes and increase their chances for a successful and healthy pregnancy, birthing process and postpartum."
Better access to maternal and infant health care will provide support and protections to mothers during their pregnant and for some time after.