Leading Medical, Children’s and Women’s Health Groups Applaud House Passage of Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015
bill helps reduce number of newborns exposed to opioids, improve care for moms
Washington, District of Columbia —
Tuesday, September 08, 2015was sent.
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You've saved this pageIt's beenThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the March of
Dimes commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the bipartisan Protecting
Our Infants Act of 2015 (H.R. 1462) today.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark (D- Mass.) and Rep.
Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), takes proactive steps to help reduce the number of
newborns born exposed to drugs, such as opioids, and to improve their care.
Specifically, the bill directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
to identify and make available recommendations for the prevention and treatment
of prenatal opioid use disorders and diagnosis and treatment of NAS, evaluate
and coordinate federal efforts to research and respond to NAS, and assist state
health agencies with data collection.
Reports show the significant rise of opiate use and abuse has led to an
alarming increase of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS
refers to medical complications associated with drug withdrawal in newborns due
to exposure to opioids or other drugs in utero. Babies born with NAS often need
to be hospitalized for weeks, are difficult to console, and can suffer from
seizures and other complications. There are no standardized guidelines for
diagnosis and treatment for these newborns, and there is an urgent need for
more research to optimize their health.
“Unprecedented numbers of U.S. newborns are suffering drug withdrawal after
birth due to exposure to opioids in utero,” stated March of Dimes President Dr.
Jennifer L. Howse. “Action is urgently needed to address the opioids crisis and
its impact on infants. The March of Dimes commends the U.S. House of
Representatives for passing this critically important legislation.”
“One infant is diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome each hour, so there
could not be a more urgent time to protect children and families affected by
substance use and abuse,” said AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP.
“Pediatricians commend the House of Representatives for its swift bipartisan
action to pass the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015. This bill will
provide help for our tiniest patients during this critical window of their
“The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists applauds the House of
Representatives for its bipartisan passage of the Protecting Our Infants Act
as a major step toward addressing opioid use during pregnancy and giving women
the care that is right for them,” said ACOG President, Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD.
“The dangers of inappropriate drug and alcohol use at any time, especially
during pregnancy, have long needed greater attention. Effective action must be
taken to ensure a healthy outcome for both mother and baby while offering
non-punitive, family-centered medical treatment.”
H.R. 1462 will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration. An identical bill,
S. 799, has been introduced in that chamber by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) and Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and has 19 additional bipartisan
cosponsors. As organizations representing the nation’s pediatricians,
obstetricians and gynecologists and members of the public who care about
pregnant women and children, the AAP, ACOG and March of Dimes join together to
support the legislation’s advancement.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care
pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit aap.org or follow
@AmerAcadPeds on Twitter
About the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a
501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing
health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership
organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for
quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice
and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and
increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues
facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization acog.org
About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose volunteers and
staff work to improve the health of infants and children by preventing birth
defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of
Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.