Bill to reduce infant mortality signed into law



STATEHOUSE – State Representative Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) authored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1004, which creates the Safety P.I.N. (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant program to combat infant mortality in Indiana. Recently signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, this legislation was co-authored by House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), State Rep. Hal Slager (R-Schererville) and State Rep. Dave Frizzell (R-Indianapolis).


“It was an honor to author legislation that takes an important step to combat infant mortality in Indiana,” said Rep. Sullivan. “HEA 1004 works by incentivizing communities, businesses and other organizations to form partnerships and develop innovative plans, leading to tangible results that protect our precious newborns.”


As the fifth worst state in the nation for infant mortality, the House Republicans sought to address this issue by making it a top priority this session. Working toward this goal, HEA 1004 will establish the Safety P.I.N. grant program which allows groups to present their innovative solutions and apply for a grant to reduce infant mortality. In order to fund this program, $13.5 million was included in the state’s biennial budget.


“Communities, who have pioneered great ideas to reduce infant mortality, deserve the flexibility to move forward with their solutions,” said Speaker Bosma. “This session, I was proud to make addressing infant mortality a priority and look forward to the positive impact the Safety P.I.N. grant program will have for Hoosier families.”


Administered by the Indiana State Department of Health, the groups applying for grants must include in their proposal: the targeted area, the amount they plan to reduce the infant mortality rate by and the timeframe in which they will achieve their goal. Preference will be given to groups that seek to combat primary drivers of infant mortality such as decreasing smoking rates among pregnant women.


“Infant mortality is a devastating issue that, unfortunately, affects many Hoosier families,” said Rep. Frizzell. “Providing grants to programs that target specific drivers of infant mortality, such as smoking and lack of prenatal care, is the most efficient way to protect both the mother and their child.”


In Indiana, nearly one-third of pregnant women do not receive prenatal care, and over 60 percent of infant deaths can be attributed to mothers that received fewer than 10 prenatal visits. Additionally, more than 16 percent of Indiana mothers smoked at some point during their pregnancy.


“This legislation goes a long way in raising awareness of proper prenatal care for families across the state,” said Rep. Slager. “As the infant mortality rate in Indiana becomes more and more troubling, it is my hope that this legislation will not only turn those numbers around, but help save lives as well.”