KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Kentucky Youth Advocates says a new Kentucky bill, Senate Bill 135, could help out parents and their new babies.

Officials say with passage by the Kentucky House on Wednesday, the bill has received its final passage before it heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. Kentucky Youth Advocates says with this measure, the state can improve access to necessary care and responsiveness of providers to help address the “disproportionate rate” of black mothers dying within a year of giving birth. Officials add with House Floor Amendment 1, this measure will now also strengthen supports for babies affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Kentucky Youth Advocates says in Kentucky, over 90% of maternal deaths are considered preventable and more than 25% have mental health conditions as a contributing factor. Officials say state data highlights disparities among the cases of maternal mortality with the rate among black women more than doubling that of white women.

A news release says SB 135 requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to make publicly available information and an assessment tool on postpartum depression and other related mental health disorders, as well as develop and implement a panel aimed at improving the quality of prevention and treatment of perinatal mental health disorders.

You can see the unofficial copy of the March 15, 2023 version of SB 135 below.