SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, is working to ensure pregnant women have access to mental and physical health care services during and after their pregnancies.
“We need to do a better job taking care of new moms,” Hernandez said. “We leave women who are pregnant or who have just given birth without any long-term care for the numerous challenges pregnancy can bring. Too often, women, especially low-income women, are forced to handle serious medical complications by themselves, often during mentally strenuous times. We can’t stand by while they face these problems alone.”
Hernandez passed House Bill 5, which requires the Department of Human Services to establish a system for providing maternal care to women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or who have recently given birth. The system will help women who require medical aid get to the right health care facility designed to treat their specific needs.
The need for this legislation is pressing. In 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that almost 30,000 new moms experienced postpartum depression, in some cases for years after giving birth. Only 2 in 10 received medical treatment for their problem.
“It’s easy to say how important women are to us when it’s politically convenient, but we have to do a better job backing up those claims with real action,” Hernandez said. “Our moms took care of us growing up, now it’s time to return the favor. No mother should have to go through the problems that can come with child birth without the help they need from qualified health care professionals.”