MIL-OSI USA: Rep. Kim’s Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Stillbirth Rates Passes Committee

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Young Kim (CA-39)

Washington, DC – Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act (H.R. 5012), a bipartisan bill led by U.S. Reps. Young Kim (CA-40), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Dave Joyce (OH-14), and Robin Kelly (IL-02) that aims to reduce stillbirth rates in the United States.

The SHINE for Autumn Act works to bridge gaps in stillbirth data, research, and education by allowing:

  • States to receive federal grants to support data collection, assessment, and reporting on stillbirth and stillbirth risk factors;
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with health care providers, to develop guidelines and educational materials for state departments of health and statistics on stillbirth data collection, data sharing, and educational materials on stillbirth;
  • The incorporation of a Perinatal Pathology Fellowship Program at the NIH to fund research fellowships on stillbirth, including research and training on fetal autopsies and improved education, research, and data collection; and, 
  • A report on the effectiveness of the Perinatal Pathology Fellowship Program after five years of enactment.

According to the CDC, stillbirth affects 1 in 170 pregnancies, with over 21,000 babies born still each year, or 57 babies dying every day. In the United States, the annual number of stillbirths far exceeds the number of deaths among children aged 0-14 years from accidents, preterm birth, SIDS, drownings, fire, and flu combined. 

“After having four kids and now watching my children start families of their own, I have experienced and seen many challenges during pregnancy,” said Rep. Young Kim, co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus. “Women, moms, and families deserve our bipartisan support. That’s why I’m proud to lead the SHINE for Autumn Act with my colleagues across the aisle and in the House and Senate to equip us with the resources to reduce stillbirths, strengthen our healthcare workforce, and foster healthy pregnancies. I thank the Energy and Commerce Committee for supporting this commonsense bill, and I’ll keep fighting to get this across the finish line.”

“Together, we can address the serious maternal and infant health crisis that is tearing families apart and causing significant pain and trauma,” said Rep. Kathy Castor. “Nearly one out of every four stillbirths is preventable, and Black women are more than twice as likely to experience stillbirth as White women. We need to act to dramatically improve outcomes for mothers and babies and address long-standing disparities among racial and ethnic groups. I trust that with the bipartisan work of my colleagues, Reps. Kim, Kelly, and Joyce, we will see the SHINE for Autumn Act signed into law. Today’s vote was an important step forward toward that goal.”

“Ohio has one of the country’s highest stillbirth rates, outpacing the national average and failing to show meaningful signs of improvement,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “We must continue to fund research to ensure no mother or family has to endure this devastating, avoidable loss of life. I am proud to see the SHINE for Autumn Act pass out of the Energy and Commerce Committee and head to the House floor.”

“Stillbirth is a deeply painful experience for mothers and families. We can and must do more to mitigate the risk of stillbirth and offer support to those who have suffered such a traumatic loss,” said Rep. Robin Kelly, co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus. “I’m proud to join my colleague and co-chair, Rep. Young Kim, to advance the bipartisan SHINE for Autumn Act, a policy that will give families the chance to thrive. Every mother deserves a healthy pregnancy and a happy life with her baby.”

“Today marks a crucial step in our efforts to address the devastating U.S. stillbirth rate and puts us on a path to saving more babies’ lives! I remain grateful to the SHINE for Autumn Acts leads, Representatives Young Kim (CA-40), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Dave Joyce (OH-14), and Robin Kelly (IL-02) for championing the comprehensive bipartisan bill in the 118th Congress! With their steadfast leadership, we can ensure stillbirth will no longer be ignored! Autumn and all babies born still and their families deserve this bill. I call on Congress to get this bill over the finish line. Watching the SHINE for Autumn Act finally become law, will help me believe that Autumn’s life was not lost in vain,” said Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya, Autumn’s mom.

The SHINE for Autumn Act is named in honor of Autumn Joy, who was born still on July 8, 2011. Her death tragically impacted her family and propelled her mother, Debbie, toward helping others through stillbirth advocacy. She has been working tirelessly to give Autumn’s short life a purpose, and to shed light on this heartbreaking public health crisis.

Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Organizations supporting H.R. 5012 include: March for Dimes, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Group B Strep International, MomsRising, March for Moms, Just Actions, The Iris Fund, Three Little Birds Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Healthy Birth Day, Inc/ Count the Kicks, the Shane Foundation, First Breath, Aaliyah in Action, and PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy. Read their quotes of support HERE and read the full list of supporting organizations HERE.