Congress Introduces Bill to Help Pregnant Women, Babies Addicted to Opioids
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM-03) and Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02), vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, last Thursday introduced the Maternal Opioid Treatment, Health, Education and Recovery (MOTHER) Act of 2018.
The bipartisan MOTHER Act will help health care providers better treat pregnant women with opioid use disorder, as well as babies who are born experiencing opioid withdrawal. The bill addresses early intervention, education, and expanded treatment options for prenatal and postpartum mothers and their babies.
“We have an obligation to do our utmost for the most vulnerable members of our society, and making sure pregnant women struggling with substance use disorders have access to treatment and recovery programs is simply the right thing to do,” Luján said. “I am glad that we could come together on a bipartisan basis to begin tackling this problem, and make sure people get access to the services and the help they need.”
“Opioid addiction is a serious risk to anyone’s health, but it can become even more harmful and life-threatening for a pregnant woman and her child,” said Guthrie. “Unfortunately, not enough people know of the risks that opioid addiction can pose to mothers and babies. The MOTHER Act increases education about this important issue and would make it easier for women and babies to receive the proper care they need. I was proud to join Congressman Luján to introduce this bipartisan bill that would take another important step forward in our efforts to combat this nation’s opioid crisis.”
Guthrie and Luján pointed out that once enacted, the MOTHER Act would:
- Strengthen the continuum of care for women and newborns from pregnancy through delivery and postpartum treatment, including counseling, referrals, and education about caring for infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome;
- Provide access to resources and education for pregnant mothers and care providers;
- Prioritize programs to address prenatal addiction at the department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and
- Highlight the need for responsible pain management for expectant mothers.
The MOTHER Act is supported by medical experts and health advocates including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the March of Dimes.