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Idaho House passes bill to study maternal deaths

A pregnant woman holding her stomach.
Sergio Santo
Idaho could soon rejoin the rest of the country in analyzing maternal deaths after House lawmakers took action Monday.

State legislators are one step closer to reviving a panel that reviews maternal mortality data.

On Monday, House lawmakers signed off on the proposal from Rep. Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett).

“It’s about taking care of our folks and reviewing what we know,” Blanskma said.

Republicans faced heavy criticism for letting the previous review committee expire last summer. That left Idaho as the only state in the country without some kind of government body analyzing maternal deaths.

The most recent data available shows 17 women died in 2021 while they were pregnant or within a year of giving birth.

Some Republicans, like Rep. Tony Wisniewski (R-Post Falls), opposed the committee’s reinstatement.

Wisniewski said the state should instead focus on deadlier problems, like cancer or heart disease.

“This is not something that we really need to spend a lot of time and energy on. Although it’s a sensitive topic, and I realize there’s a lot of emotion involved, there are other things we need to consider,” he said.

“Yes, there is a very low mortality for women in Idaho,” said Blanksma. “But we’d like to keep it that way and this data review process will help that.”

Ultimately, 17 state representatives opposed the measure.

The legislation still needs approval from the Senate and Gov. Brad Little to become law.

 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. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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