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Maternal death review committee bill clears House committee

A pregnant woman stand in a medical gown as a physician uses a stethoscope to monitor her womb.
Jamie Grill
Tetra images RF/Getty Images
House lawmakers could soon consider legislation to revive Idaho's maternal mortality review committee.

Efforts to reinstate Idaho’s maternal mortality review committee could soon hit the House floor, though some supporters said they wish the legislation went further.

Last year, Idaho became the only state in the country to not have some kind of government body analyzing maternal mortality data. Legislative Republicans let the committee lapse as the state’s strict abortion ban took full effect, sparking criticism that the two were connected.

Dr. Stacy Seyb is the former chairman of that committee, who supports its revival.

“The root causes of maternal deaths, if we can determine those, may actually help prevent future tragedies,” Seyb said.

He also wants lawmakers to ensure confidentiality and immunity to those providing the data – something that’s not currently included in the proposal.

“It is essential that EMTs and first responders, police officers, healthcare providers and family members all feel safe as they contribute information,” Seyb said.

House Majority Leader Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett), who sponsors the bill, says immunity is a nonstarter for her.

“When you talk about providing blanket immunity for anyone, we start to get really sketchy … So, that was not included in the bill and I would not intend to include that in any other bill,” Blanksma said.

If enacted, the review committee would be structured under the Idaho Board of Medicine, which oversees licensure for physicians.

It would receive maternal death data from the state department of health and welfare, which Blanksma said continues to collect that information despite the committee’s expiration.

The legislation would still need approval from the Senate and Gov. Brad Little to become law should it clear the House.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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