Illinois House Advances Birth Equity Initiative With $23 Million Commitment

Illinois House Advances Birth Equity Initiative With $23 Million Commitment

Local doulas have expressed their support for the Birth Equity Initiative, an Illinois House bill.

HB 5142, which passed the House on Thursday, intends to enhance Black maternal health outcomes by investing $23 million in grant programs, child tax credits, and a statewide framework for identifying impediments and coordinating efforts among state agencies.

“Birth equity means that everyone has the same access. So I can drive to my doctor’s office. Then there’s someone unable to drive to their doctor’s office. So that transit is currently being developed. “Everyone can go.” According to Ebonnie Gordon, registered nurse and doula at Love, a Labor Nurse in Peoria. According to Etta Wallace, a registered nurse and doula at Love, a Labor Nurse, black mothers are three to four times more likely to experience pregnancy-related issues.

“So with that statistic being ridiculously higher than the rest of like other counterparts, there’s something that needs to be done with that,” she went on to say. According to Gordon, the leading causes of pregnancy problems are cardiovascular disease, preeclampsia, bleeding, and embolism.

However, due to social and health disadvantages caused by a heritage of systematic racism, Black women are less likely to trust doctors who do not look like them or have access to medical treatment at all.

“All of these issues may be addressed and resolved. But if these people don’t understand how important it is, that’s what’s keeping them from getting their checkups,” Gordon explained.

“Having people of color working in the maternal care can help a lot to give that trust and bring them in, so then they are comfortable,” she said.

Wallace added to the inequalities by stating that the availability of OB-GYN providers in the Peoria area is limited. “A lot of offices or clinics can only accept a certain number of Medicaid patients.” And so I believe that creates a significant vacuum in where patients may receive care, as well as a significant burden on those offices, who must accept whatever patients they can. “So it’s very difficult to provide a meaningful patient-provider relationship,” Wallace explained.

“You have a set amount of time with each patient because they are experiencing overload and excess. “They’re getting the people who can’t get into a doctor’s office,” Gordon explained.

Wallace and Gordon expressed hope that the Birth Equity Initiative will help fund organizations like theirs.

“The majority of our clients are unable to afford the services provided by private companies. So, with this coming out. They will supply us with grants so that we may provide those services to local families,” Wallace added. We can only currently provide care to people who can afford it, you know. As a result, they will be able to hire a doula. So they’ll have someone they can rely on during and after their pregnancy to help or call out,” Gordon explained.

The bill is now headed to the Senate.

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