Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore has introduced legislation in the U.S. House to develop standardized national guidelines for protocol in death scene investigations, autopsies and the collection of data following an infant or child death or stillbirth.
The Reducing Unexpected Deaths in Infants and Children Act would increase local and state funding to collect more complete and thorough data after an infant and child death, improve death scene investigations and expand support services for grieving families who have experienced the loss of an infant or child, according to a news release from Moore’s office.
To draft the bill, Moore collaborated local and national organizations, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Safe States Alliance, Society of Medicolegal Death Investigators, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.
She said in a statement, “With thousands of stillbirths and babies dying suddenly and unexpectedly every year in the United States, this stark reality demands our attention, our concern, and most importantly, our swift action.
“As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, I find it shameful that America’s infant mortality rate rivals that of many developing countries. My bill … provides valuable support to states, municipalities and organizations to help understand and combat child and infant death. We have the resources and capacity to prevent these tragedies from occurring. All we need now is the political will. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this critical legislation.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said, “We applaud Congresswoman Gwen Moore for continuing to support women and families by introducing The Reducing Unexpected Deaths in Infants and Children Act. This bill will help combat infant mortality by providing resources to improve the health of women before, between, beyond and during pregnancy. As the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood is dedicated to ensuring access to quality, affordable care for women — essential pieces for preventing infant mortality and building strong, healthy families and communities.”