Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education for Autumn Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 8, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5487, the Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education for Autumn Act, or the SHINE Act.

For far too long, stillbirth has existed in the shadows of our maternity care system. Yet, each year, in the United States, about 24,000 babies are stillborn. This is more than 10 times as many deaths that occur from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, yet SIDS is much more recognized and researched than stillbirth.

Due to our failure to invest in stillbirth research, the United States lags behind 181 nations who are more rapidly reducing their stillbirth rates than us. And similar to most adverse maternal and infant outcomes, our minority communities are disproportionately impacted by this heartbreak.

Also, families who experience a stillbirth tragedy are not well- supported by our healthcare system or their communities. This leaves families feeling isolated and unprepared to deal with their tragic loss.

As co-chair of the Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, I am proud to have worked with my co-chair and author of the bill, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and my colleagues, Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Congressman Markwayne Mullin, to introduce the SHINE for Autumn Act this fall.

And I thank Debbie Haine for sharing her family's story of losing Autumn, and for her decade-long crusade to shine a Federal spotlight on this heartbreaking maternal health concern.

The SHINE Act will establish a Perinatal Pathology Fellowship program at the NIH to increase research on stillbirth. It will provide critical resources to Federal and State health departments to improve surveillance and data collection. And it will increase awareness and understanding of this perinatal tragedy by supporting the development of educational materials and guidelines for State and local health departments.

The SHINE Act also directs the Surgeon General to produce a report on stillbirth risk factors and requires the Secretary of HHS to report on the progress and effectiveness of the NIH training programs.

Today, this House has the opportunity to bring stillbirth out of the shadows and to invest in the education and research that will save babies lives.

I am proud to vote ``yes'' on the SHINE for Autumn Act, and I urge my colleagues to support this critical legislation.