FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A new bill co-sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski has passed in the Senate. The 'Improving Access to Maternity Care Act' aims to identify healthcare shortages for pregnant women in rural communities. The legislation was introduced by Senator Murkowski and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, and passed in the House in January 2017.
It then passed the Senate December 6. The next step is for the president to sign the bill into law. Both Senators commented on how women in rural areas facing high risk pregnancies have to travel long distances for care, and due to costs, they are often alone.
Senator Murkowski spoke about why this bill is so important.
"We need to do more when it comes to addressing these gaps in services. When women do not receive the prenatal care or the maternal care that they need, bad things happen. And it is really about making sure that the services that are needed, that those needs are met," she said.