Senators introduce bill to ensure better medical care for mothers and babies in Arizona

A bill is being introduced in the Arizona legislature that is centered around maternal and infant health aiming to make sure new moms and babies get the care they need.

Valley mother of two, Sharon Lopez, experienced a traumatic delivery with her first-born child. 

"I was suicidal, I struggled to bond with my first-born through his delivery, said Sharon Lopez, a mother of two. "You don't know what it feels like to be drowning and that's what it feels like, drowning."

Lopez, alongside other moms and supporters of better maternal and infant health, join Republican senators Heather Carter and Kathy Brophy McGee in pushing a 2020 bill package aimed at improving health care for moms and babies. 

"As a survivor, it's really important that other women are able to access care, that this might be what saves the lives of other women, another mother because it's really important," said Lopez.

Under Senate Bill 1571, the policy would establish a maternal mental health advisory committee at AHCCS to mandate proper newborn screenings and treatment of maternal mental health disorders, dental coverage for pregnant moms and full post-partum coverage. 

Breann Westmore with March of Dimes says new moms like Lopez face a multitude of challenges, but struggling to access health care shouldn't be one of them. 

"This is a game-changer for families who their children are caught with this condition but it's too late," said Breann Westmore with March of Dimes. "We have great partners at the department of health, the governor's office, the state lab really fighting for this and hopefully this is the year we make it happen."