BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law with the hope of improving the survival rates of Black and Indigenous people and their babies in California.
Black infants are more than twice as likely to die in their first according to the US Department of Health and Human Services that is why many are so happy this bill finally exists.
“If you’re a black woman having a baby in California you should be nervous and this legislation is one small but big gesture towards fixing that,” said Candace Neal Local Lawyer Community Activist.
According to the Health and Human Service Department, Black women are twice as likely to receive late or no prenatal care as compared to non-Hispanic White mothers.
Neal explained she had her struggles in receiving adequate healthcare here in Kern County.
“I found out that I was actually released with high blood pressure. I had never had high blood pressure before in my life, but I was released in that condition in less than 12 hours after I gave birth, I could have died. I could have died. It was really a heartbreaking experience,” said Neal.
Although Neal said her experience was traumatic when she thinks about what happens to women across California, she said it feels small.
“This is all very important legislation and that’s why I’m involved in terms of on the community side being a representative, a voice on the committee from my perspective as a new mom,” said Neal.
The Momnibus act or SB-65 will provide cash assistance to low-income people throughout pregnancy and in the first years of their babies’ lives, but Neal said Black women will continue to need support.
“The biggest thing I believe that a black women can do is ask for help, get connected to an organization or people around you that are going through or have been through what you’re going through,” said Neal.
The medical extended postpartum coverage will go into effect on January 1, 2022.