SPRINGFIELD – All portions of a comprehensive plan to combat rising maternal mortality rates, sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, have passed the Illinois Senate.

“I’m gratified to see this legislative package pass without opposition in the Senate,” Collins said Friday as the Illinois Senate passed House Bills 3 and 5, two of the legislative package’s bills. “We bring this plan forward to fight against an environment where women’s concerns over their bodies and their children’s well-being are diminished or ignored, often in ways that can be deadly for women of color in particular. This data-driven plan will seek solutions for this widespread public health concern and guide us in how to act.”

The legislative effort comprises House Bills 1, 2, 3 and 5, all of which have passed both chambers of the General Assembly.

Passed by the Senate yesterday, House Bill 3 requires a hospital’s quarterly “report card” to include instances of preterm infants, infant mortality and maternal mortality, while also reporting racial and ethnic information about the infants’ mothers and the disparity of outcomes across different racial and ethnic groups.

“We have seen studies that show a college-educated black woman in a high-paying career is more likely to die as a consequence of childbirth than a white woman without a high school diploma,” Collins said. “This is about accountability for hospitals, but also about giving us accurate data on the true scope of this problem.”

House Bill 5 directs the Department of Human Services to ensure pregnant and postpartum mothers have access to substance use disorder services that are gender-responsive and trauma-informed.
In addition, the Department of Public Health would establish a classification system for four levels of maternal care and would direct higher-level facilities to train lower-level facilities on how to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, as well as ensure they develop a tracking method for related cases.

“There’s a dynamic at play, whether purposeful or inadvertent, that can cause medical professionals to minimize or dismiss a pregnant woman’s concerns, even as research has identified all the ways in which she may need help,” Collins said. “House Bill 5 aims to end that dynamic through clear directives and education for our medical and emergency response personnel, in a way that will save lives.”

In response to an infant mortality rate among women of color that is twice that of white women, House Bill 1 creates a Task Force on Infant and Maternal Mortality Among African Americans. Studies have found that, even accounting for socioeconomic class and level of education, a black woman is more likely to lose her child than a white woman.

House Bill 2 adds a host of maternal rights under the Medical Patients Rights Act, commonly called the Patient’s Bill of Rights. Among them, the legislation calls for the right to care before, during and after childbirth; the right to choose a midwife or physician in a setting of her choosing; the right to full and clear information on the benefits, risks, and costs of treatment and medication; the right to accept or refuse treatment or procedures and to have her wishes honored; the right to hold her child after birth if there is no immediate medical emergency; and the right to respect and sensitivity from her medical professionals, among others.

House Bills 1 and 5 await the governor’s signature to become law, while House Bills 2 and 3 await concurrence votes in the House.

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Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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