Ohio lawmakers have drafted new legislation that would provide greater access for mothers to doulas during the birthing process. Could this new bill, H.B. 142, be another step in preventing infant mortality statewide, particularly among families of color?
Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country but there are encouraging signs in Hamilton County where the infant mortality rate dropped in 2020 to its lowest number since record keeping began in 1968. According to a report by Cradle Cincinnati, Black infant deaths dropped below the national average for the first time in more than 25 years. But Cradle Cincinnati still says the Black community has been hit hardest by infant mortality.
The bill would establish a doula advisory board and a certification process for doulas in Ohio that includes training on racial bias and health disparities. Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the bill and the role doulas play in the birthing process are one of the bill's authors Franklin County Commissioner and former state Rep. Erica Crawley; therapist, certified lactation consultant and doula Brandi Rahim; and Cradle Cincinnati Partnership and Policy Manager Mike Moroski.
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