‘Healthy moms mean healthy babies’ – Arkansas’s Sanders among pro-life governors taking action to support women with pregnancy help

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Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order recently to support the health and well-being of pregnant and postpartum mothers and their babies in the state.

The executive order on maternal health charges the Arkansas Surgeon General, Department of Human Services and Department of Health with creating a statewide plan for improvement of education, access, coordination and reporting on the health of pregnant and postpartum moms, according to a press statement from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Additionally under the order, the state agencies must take immediate action to enroll pregnant and postpartum women in health coverage options.

“Too many women simply don’t know the resources we offer,” Sanders said at the signing ceremony for the executive order. “This is a major step toward fixing that,”

“Healthier moms have healthier pregnancies and healthier babies,” the order states.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America praised Sanders for the effort to help and support women in its statement and in a conversation with Pregnancy Help News.

“It is a priority for her to be pro-life and the full embodiment of what that entails,” Caitlin Connors, southern regional director for the national pro-life group, said of Sanders.

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Connors noted the need to eliminate the gaps in obstetric care for women in Arkansas.

“Especially the rural areas of Arkansas, for women to know what resources are available to them and make sure they are getting the pre-natal care that they need for themselves to have healthy pregnancies,” Connors said. “Then of course for baby to be healthy as well.”

While the order seeks to eliminate the gaps in care, it specifically directs the committee to begin by making recommendations on the following:

  • The establishment of a pilot program in five counties to increase prenatal care access.
  • Utilization of media to inform the public on maternal health and resources.
  • Assessment of the changes needed to improve Medicaid as well as health innovations via grants and other possible public-private partnerships.
  • Evaluate the treatment protocols used in hospitals across the state to promote the best practices for pregnant and post-partum women.
  • Improvement of reporting by developing a statewide analytics structure for maternal health.
  • Assessment of telehealth, home visits, and doula services to recommend strategies to expand these services.

The committee has been given six months to complete the task and return to the governor with a full report on the mandated action steps.

Connors commented on the emphasis Sanders is putting on these issues.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in pregnancy sometimes so it is great to know your healthcare providers, be able to rely on them during pregnancy of course, but that post-partum time is also crucially important,” she said.

Connors acknowledged that a big part of this initiative will involve the commission learning more about the prevalence of pregnancy centers in Arkansas.

“Certainly, around the country pregnancy centers are the lifeline for a lot of women especially in rural areas,” she said.

As the committee examines the capabilities of pregnancy help centers and how they serve the women in their communities, Connors believes this will lead to an effort to get the word out on the services already being offered and connecting women with those organizations.

“There’s going to be a big push throughout this initiative to get women enrolled in the different programs available to them to make sure they have the best shot at healthy pregnancies and healthy post-partum time periods and of course healthy babies as well,” Connors said.

She is confident the committee will examine the resources that do exist and recommend the best ways to get women acquainted with the incredible work that pregnancy centers are doing.

Tweet This: Pregnancy help will be key in the implementation of Gov. Sanders's executive order on maternal health.

Connors highlighted what the state of Mississippi has already done through its MAMA (Mississippi Access to Maternal Assistance) website and mobile app, calling it, “Incredibly revolutionary.”

“This proclamation is a great start,” Connors stated of Sanders’ initiative. “If the governor puts her name and the power of her office behind something it is automatically statewide and regional news if not national. That’s an excellent start to make it clear this is a priority of her administration.”

Connors said her group was pleased to see this trend of embracing a culture of life in the U.S.

“We are seeing a lot of really pro-life legislators, governors, and attorney generals across the board who are putting an emphasis on having pro-life laws in their state and walking with moms, supporting families and the culture of life piece is so vast.”

From the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America statement:

Governor Sanders’ undertaking is part of a widespread effort along with other pro-life governors across the nation to empower women, both throughout their pregnancy and after their children are born. SD Gov. Kristi Noem and NE Gov. Jim Pillen recently issued proclamations focused on building upon the culture of life in their states. AL Gov. Kay Ivey is doubling down on improving foster care adoptions and providing more free checkups for pregnant women. Gov. Jim Justice is championing $3 million in funding for pregnancy centers. Gov. Kim Reynolds is advancing the Thrive Iowa initiative to establish post-partum Medicaid and paid maternity leave for state employees.

“We are grateful for Governor Sanders’ leadership in serving moms and protecting babies. Through this executive order, Arkansas will take swift action to improve the health of more moms by establishing solutions involving the public, private and nonprofit sectors,” Connors said. “This is another example of how pro-life governors across our country are establishing a culture of life by providing more support for mothers.”

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