House passes Fleming plan to spur prenatal care

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State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) today succeeded in convincing Indiana House members to support a change that will help expectant mothers battling addiction receive prenatal care.

Representatives approved an amendment authored by Fleming that would require an office providing treatment for opioid addiction to refer any female who is found to be pregnant at the onset of treatment to prenatal care services. The amendment was included in Senate Bill 141, which covers opioid treatment services in an office-based setting.

“This small change will provide long-term benefits in the lives of pregnant mothers and their children,” Fleming said. “It enables health care professionals to provide critical early care for pregnant women so they can secure treatment to help them overcome their addictions and address potential problems that could affect an unborn child. This can help us begin to address some of the devastating consequences that can affect pregnant women battling addiction and their babies.

“I will continue to advocate for contraceptive counseling as an important component of health care for people in the grip of addiction,” she continued. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the votes necessary for including this change in Senate Bill 141. However, I am pleased that my amendment to provide a refer for prenatal care was approved.”

In her first session, Fleming – who has worked as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, and obstetric hospitalist – has identified health care for Hoosier women as one of her top priorities, with a focus on improvements to services provided to women before, during and after pregnancy.

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