HARRISBURG – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) that would offer state assistance to the babies of new mothers struggling with postpartum depression (PPD) was overwhelmingly approved by the House Children and Youth Committee today. House Bill 200
now moves to the full House for consideration.
Toohil is vice chair of the committee and spoke in support of her bill during the meeting.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that PPD can lead to increased costs of medical care, child abuse and neglect, and can adversely affect a child’s early brain development,” said Toohil. “The academy recommends pediatricians refer the mother and her infant to community services that serve them together. Because of the negative impact of PPD and the risks to infants, this piece of legislation is extremely important.”
Under House Bill 200, mothers at high risk for PPD and their infants who are referred by a physician, health care provider or parent would be automatically eligible for assessment and tracking by Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention programs under the Early Intervention Services System Act. These programs exist in all 67 counties.
“We want to make sure we prevent the deaths of these babies, as well as their neglect,” Toohil added. “The earlier you catch developmental delays and start treating them, the better the result for those children, which would also equal cost savings down the road.”
Medical experts estimate that 10% to 20% of new mothers experience PPD symptoms, sometimes up to a year after giving birth.
Similar measures sponsored by Toohil were passed by the House in previous legislative sessions.
To view or download a broadcast-quality video of Toohil’s remarks, visit here
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office