Today bipartisan legislation authored by Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) to reduce infant deaths related to premature births passed the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the President for his signature. S. 3029, the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act, will specifically expand research, education and intervention activities aimed at preventing premature births.
"Every year in the U.S., ten percent of babies are born prematurely, putting them and their mothers at an increased risk of complicated health problems," Rep. Eshoo said. "Since shepherding this legislation into law in 2006, the PREEMIE Act has helped researchers and doctors identify the causes of premature births and work to prevent them. The number of preterm births decreased from 2007 to 2014, but they've begun to rise again. I look forward to the President signing this reauthorization into law to ensure that every child has a healthy start to life."
"There may be no greater calling than to help infants thrive in the early days of life. By working together and getting this legislation signed into law we can continue to reduce premature birth rates and confront childhood disabilities that many young people face. This is good and important work and the kind of positive difference federal efforts can make in the lives of many," said Rep. Lance.
"We welcome today's vote on the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act and thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their strong leadership in ensuring babies in this country are born strong and healthy," said March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart. "After a decade of decline, the preterm birth rate has risen the past three years, which is unacceptable for a country with our vast resources. This bill will go a long way in reducing the number of babies that are being born too sick and too soon."
This legislation reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) research and data collection on infants born prematurely and programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration to improve the treatment and outcome of infants born prematurely. These programs include grants to help doctors and the public understand the potential risk factors for having a preterm baby, such as smoking, and provides grants to screen and treat expectant mothers for substance use disorders, including opioid use disorders. This reauthorization also includes updated language to incorporate maternal health.