SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – New mothers will have better access to affordable pregnancy, postpartum and newborn care services under a major birth equity initiative passed by state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston.

“It’s unacceptable that in the 21st Century, childbirth poses so many challenges to new mothers—and it’s unconscionable that women of color in particular face so many preventable risks,” Gabel said. “The challenges that new mothers have to overcome shouldn’t include paying huge bills for the medical assistance they need to have a safe pregnancy. Delivering and caring for a newborn is a physically challenging process, causing it to be draining financially as well, just makes the job of raising a healthy kid harder. I led the effort to cut costs on obstetric services because I want parents in our community, and communities across Illinois, to have the start to parenthood they deserve.”

“Passing House Bill 5142 is the first step in addressing the alarming disparities in maternal health outcomes in Illinois, particularly among Black mothers and babies,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “With this legislation, we not only protect lives but also affirm the dignity and worth of every mother, underscoring our commitment to the well-being of all families across our state.”

Gabel passed House Bill 5142, which would require insurance providers to cover all pregnancy, postpartum and newborn care services that are rendered by perinatal doulas or licensed certified professional midwives. Such services would include home births, home visits and support during labor, as well as necessary equipment and medical supplies. Postpartum coverage would apply for at least one year after birth, and mothers would have access to visits by lactation consultants and coverage for the purchase of a breast pump and breast pump supplies.

The measure is part of a broader effort proposed by the governor to enhance birth equity across Illinois with investments aimed at improving maternal health outcomes – especially in underserved communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States are preventable, and that Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.

Rep. Robyn GabelRep. Robyn Gabel

Assistant Majority Leader
18th District

Springfield Office:
300 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8052
(217) 558-4553 FAX

District Office:
2100 Ridge Ave.
Suite 2600
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 424-5401