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Government & Politics

Akron Legislator Proposes Bill Meant to Reduce Infant Deaths

A photo of a baby
In Ohio in 2017, 982 infants died before their first birthday.

Ohio ranks fifth among states for how many babies die before turning one, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2017, nearly a thousand Ohio infants died before their first birthdays.

A bill introduced this week by legislators from Akron and Canton aims to reduce the state’s infant mortality rate.

Democratic Representatives Thomas West of Canton and Tavia  Galonski of Akron are cosponsors. Galonski says it would require expectant mothers be tested during the pregnancy for three sexually transmitted diseases.

Syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV are some of the most damaging diseases to the unborn child and so if we can make a difference by offering testing then maybe we can make a difference also in women giving birth to healthy babies which should produce a better outcome as far as someone reaching their first birth date.”

A state health department report, shown below, finds the greatest cause of infant mortality is premature birth. Galonski says six other states have passed similar legislation. She says it’s received bipartisan support in Columbus, and she’s optimistic it will become law.