Thursday, December 9, 2021
Dec. 9, 2021

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Herrera Beutler helps introduce bill to reduce stillbirth rate


CENTRALIA — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, was among members of Congress who this week introduced the Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education for Autumn Act.

The proposed legislation is aimed at lowering the country’s stillbirth rate by “providing critical resources to state and federal health departments, improving data collection and increasing education and awareness around the issue of stillbirth in the United States,” according to a news release from Herrera Beutler’s office.

According to Herrera Beutler, each year stillbirth affects one out of every 160 births, and about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. Stillbirth rates remain relatively unchanged and affect women of all ages and every background across the United States, Herrera Beutler said.

“No parent should have to go through the devastating stillbirth of a child, but sadly, as our country continues to grapple with high rates of stillbirth, each year more moms and dads will experience these heart wrenching tragedies … I’m committed to the goal of achieving more positive outcomes for moms and babies so that they can survive and live their lives to the fullest,” said Herrera Beutler, who is co-chair of the Maternity Caucus.

Herrera Beutler introduced the legislation along with Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Markwayne Mullin and Kathy Castor.

The SHINE for Autumn Act would provide grants to states for the surveillance and data collection relating to stillbirth and stillbirth risk factors, develop guidelines and educational materials for state departments of health and statistics on stillbirth data collection, data sharing and educational materials on stillbirth and establish the Perinatal Pathology Fellowship Program at the National Institute of Health to increase research on stillbirth.

The legislation is named after Autumn Joy, who was stillborn on July 8, 2011.

“Her tragic death impacted her family and propelled her mother, Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya, toward helping others through stillbirth advocacy,” according to the news release. “She has been working tirelessly to give Autumn’s short life a purpose and to shed light on this heartbreaking maternal health issue.”

“The loss of a child is a tragedy that far too many of our neighbors have suffered. I am proud to work with my colleagues to invest in research and solutions to lower the stillbirth rate in the United States and address disparities that exist in all stages of pregnancy,” Castor said.