House passes Pryor amendment to create Doula Advisory Board

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana House of Representatives today passed an amendment to House Bill 1001, authored by State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis), that creates a Doula Advisory Board comprised of 13 members. The board will advise the Family Social Services Administration on funding for doulas. Doulas provide emotional support for pregnant women, as well as helping connect them to resources and assist them in advocating for themselves in a physician's office.

“Doulas help empower a woman to take her health into her own hands and offer tools needed to advocate for herself when she's in her doctor's office,” Pryor said. “Indiana is the third worst state in the nation for maternal mortality rates. While we need to do more to improve maternal and infant health – especially among Black mothers and babies – this amendment is a good first step to combat the issue.

State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) supported the amendment and is a long-time champion for maternal and infant health in Indiana. Summers authored an amendment that would have created a behavioral health grant to help new mothers access mental health care in the postpartum period. The amendment failed along party lines.

“It's clear that we need to do much more than we're currently doing to support mothers and babies in Indiana,” Summers said. “While I’m happy that Rep. Pryor's amendment passed and will help expand doula services in our state, we need our Republican colleagues to step up to the moment and help women get the services they need to keep themselves and their babies alive and healthy. That's the bare minimum of what we should be doing for our constituents.

“We know, statistically, that Black women face increased obstacles during pregnancy due to inadequate access to health care and implicit biases from health care providers. My hope for the board is more women having access to doulas. Not only will greater access help women feel more confident while speaking with their physician, but more women will have someone in their corner to support them throughout their pregnancy and birth.”

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