This afternoon, Franklin County Commissioner Erica C. Crawley joined state senators and representatives at the Ohio Statehouse to speak in favor of the “Doula Bill”, new legislation that would allow Medicaid to reimburse for doula services and create other legislative efforts to strengthen families across Ohio. Commissioner Crawley was a strong advocate for infant and maternal health issues while she was a state representative and helped to create this new legislation before moving over to serve as Franklin County Commissioner.
“Having a doula as a member of a birth team is an asset that should be afforded to every pregnant person, but because doula services are not covered by Medicaid, many individuals have to pay for these services out-of-pocket,” said Commissioner Crawley. “With this legislation, we can help bolster our healthcare workforce by ensuring that doulas receive a livable wage and compensation, while also helping families bring children into the world safely and save lives.”
The statewide infant mortality rate in Ohio is about 6.7 per 1,000 live births, but it’s 13.6 for Black babies who are almost three times as likely as White babies to die before their first birthday. A doula is a trained professional who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant people and people who are giving birth. Studies show that having a doula present before, during, and after birth is associated with shorter labor, fewer cesarean births, and more positive childbirth experiences.
“Giving birth can be a wonderful experience, and the first year of a child’s life should be joyful. We have tools that will help make those things a reality for more Ohio families and, in Medicaid, we have a tool that can help pay for it,” said Commissioner Crawley. “It’s important that this bill be given a fair hearing in the legislature, and I urge our senators and representatives to support its swift passage.”
Joining the commissioner at this afternoon’s event were State Senators Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Michele Reynolds (R-Canal Winchester), and State Representatives Latyna Humphrey (D-Columbus) and Andrea White (R-Kettering) who are all cosponsoring the bill in their respective bodies, as well as Angela Dawson, Director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and other stakeholders from around the state.