NEW YORK -- Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a six-point proposal to fight maternal and infant deaths in New York on Thursday.
As part of her 2024 State of the State, Hochul will introduce new policies and legislation to expand access to high-quality prenatal care, reduce costs for mothers and families, fight postpartum depression and support infants in the first months of their lives.
"Make no mistake: we are facing a maternal and infant mortality crisis," Hochul said. "As New York's first mom governor, this is personal to me. We are committed to tackling this crisis head-on with policies that lift up parents and children throughout the State of New York."
The plan would establish first-in-the-nation statewide paid prenatal leave. It would include 40 hours of paid leave to attend prenatal medical appointments.
The plan also calls for increased access to doulas without a referral, affordable cribs for all families to avoid Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths and specialized training for maternal mental health through the 988 hotline.
New accountability measures will be put in place for cases involving C-sections and other surgical procedures that pose a risk to pregnant women.
Hochul is also introducing new legislation that will eliminate copays and other out-of-pocket costs for prenatal care.
"No woman in this country should fear getting pregnant because it might end up being her death sentence, but these days many Black New Yorkers are reporting they're not sure they want to take the risk and ready to have a family because the outcome can be so devastating," Hochul said.
The governor says the maternal and infant fatality crisis deserves a response from every level of government.