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Ohio's High Infant Mortality Rate Addressed In New Bills

In 2013, state lawmakers and health officials toured Ohio, gathering information about the state’s high infant mortality rate. On Wednesday, state senators introduced five new bills to combat the situation. 

Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation and Republican State Senator Shannon Jones of Springboro says a high infant death rate is a red flag. 

“A state's infant mortality rate is much like the canary that goes down into the coal mine," Jones said. "It’s an indicator of the overall health and wellness of mothers and children in the communities.” 

The five bills introduced Wednesday are meant to increase awareness of safety measures that can prevent infant mortality and expand health programs that address the problem.

Jones co-authored the legislation with Democratic State Senator Charleta B. Tavares of Columbus, who hopes the bills will move quickly through the legislative process, “because every day that goes by we are assuring our residents that another baby will die." Tavares add that, "over a thousand have died in [Ohio] each year and that’s unconscionable.”

The bills, introduced Wednesday, will be referred to a Senate Committee for further consideration.