|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 18th, 2019
Access to essential health care services is critical for the life of both the child and mother, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Dem-NPL legislator Alisa Mitskog understood this and sponsored HB 1515. Previously the law allowed for up to 152% of the poverty level; however, this legislation expands medical assistance coverage for pregnant women with income below 162% of the federal poverty level, which increases prenatal coverage that may reduce abortions while also helping to reduce complications that result in costly neonatal care.
HB 1515 passed with bipartisan support, but not without sharp opposition from some Republicans. On the Senate floor, Oley Larson (R-Minot) called it the “shack up bill.” Dave Clemens (R-Fargo) claimed the bill would “incentivize people to not seek work.”
“This should be seen as a truly pro-life bill, sending the message to vulnerable women that North Dakota wants to help them,” said Alison Jones, Communications Director for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “It’s backward to want women to bring life to the world, but refuse to help them while pregnant, or after the child is born.”