Congressman Cohen’s NEWBORN Act Passes the House
September 22nd, 2010
The House of Representatives has approved legislation Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) authored to combat infant mortality. The NEWBORN Act would address the growing problem of infant mortality through a national pilot program to promote pre-natal care, community outreach and youth education.
“Memphis has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country,” said Congressman Cohen, who spoke on the House floor. “The infant mortality rate of a nation is an important indicator of that nation’s overall health. It is an issue that sweeps from urban to rural communities across our country. We must do more to make sure women have the resources they need to deliver healthy babies.”
The Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now (NEWBORN) Act (H.R. 3470) would create a national pilot program in cities with the highest rates of infant mortality that focuses on providing pre-natal care and community outreach, and educating at-risk and potential mothers about pregnancy and infant mortality. Statistics will be gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help lead to a better understanding of infant mortality.
The United States ranks 30th in the world in infant mortality incidents and, while there are many causes for infant mortality, the lack of access to quality, affordable and comprehensive healthcare is a significant part of the problem. In 2005, 68.6 percent of all infant deaths occurred to preterm infants, up from 65.6 percent in 2000.
The infant mortality rate in Tennessee’s 9th district is the highest in the U.S. and five times the national average at 6.86 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2005, one Memphis ZIP code had an infant mortality rate that was deadlier for babies than the countries of Vietnam, Iran and El Salvador.