HR 746 – Strong Families Resolution

PDF Format | GA General Assembly – Legislation

House Resolution 746

By: Representatives Randall of the 142nd, Bell of the 58th, Hugley of the 136th, Fludd of the 64th, and Abrams of the 89th

A RESOLUTION

Describing public policies that will help Georgia families thrive; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, strong families are the foundation for a prosperous Georgia, and are necessary for a dynamic and healthy workforce, robust economy, entrepreneurial opportunities, and supportive communities; and

WHEREAS, strong families can only thrive in Georgia with policies designed to address families’ many challenges and foster safety, health, wellness, and opportunities for all families and the whole health of their children; and

WHEREAS, Georgia would prosper by enacting policies to alleviate the challenges families face from discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace, a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists—particularly outside of the Atlanta area, a high teen pregnancy rate, a lack of insurance coverage, and racial disparities in accessing pre- and post-natal care, reproductive health care, mental health care, and other health care services; and

WHEREAS, access to proper health care and high-quality providers before, during, and after pregnancy ensures healthy births, healthy babies, and healthy mothers, but Georgia’s severe shortage of health care providers prevents such care, with only 20.8 doctors per 100,000 working age population compared to the national average of 35.7 doctors per 100,000; and

WHEREAS, women who lack adequate prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications, and 18% of all live births in Georgia were to women receiving inadequate prenatal care, with a larger percentage of African-American (24%) and Hispanic women (29%) receiving inadequate prenatal care; and

WHEREAS, African American women, who comprise almost one-third of Georgia women, are 3.4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women;

WHEREAS, nearly half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, women who lack insurance coverage or access to subsidized services have increased numbers of unintended pregnancies and childbearing, and unintended childbearing is associated with negative consequences such as delayed prenatal care, increased risk of physical violence during pregnancy, maternal depression, decreased likelihood of breastfeeding, low birth weight, decreased mental and physical health during childhood, and lower education attainment for the child; and

WHEREAS, Georgia’s teen pregnancy rate of 33 pregnancies per 1,000 women is higher than the national average, and implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based sex education could reduce the risk of unintended teen pregnancy by 50 percent, increase contraceptive use by 25 percent or more, and delay the initiation of sex; and

WHEREAS, Georgia’s sexually transmitted infection rates are among the highest in the nation, with Georgia ranking first in the nation for Syphilis infection rates, fifth in the nation for HIV/AIDS infection rates, sixth for gonorrhea infection rates, and eighth in the nation for Chlamydia infection rates, but increasing the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in high-risk populations has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent, while increasing the clinical practice of Expedited Partner Therapy reduces re-infection rates at a substantially lower cost; and

WHEREAS, in order to live healthy, productive lives, contribute to their communities and the economy, and raise their families, all Georgia women need affordable access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive services, abortion care, prenatal care, and labor and delivery services from licensed, high-quality health care providers; and

WHEREAS, the state of Georgia is comprised of families of diverse genders, sexual orientation, marital statuses, races, citizenship statuses and national origins, and these families are valued and legitimate regardless of the form they take and have the right to decide when and whether to have children, to have a healthy pregnancy, to terminate a pregnancy, and to parent the children they have with dignity and in safety, free from violence, mass incarceration, discrimination, and coercion; and

WHEREAS, there are significant benefits for strong families from enacting strong policies to address the challenges that families face at home and in the workplace, such as discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace, mployment policies that make it difficult for women to continue breastfeeding for at least six months as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, limited or non-existent parental leave for both mothers and fathers, and a lack of flexible sick leave policies; and

WHEREAS, access to affordable, high-quality childcare has been proven to increase women’s participation in the workforce, and to improve children’s ability to learn in school; and

WHEREAS, Georgia law and policy does not reflect all of these adequate solutions to these problems, they must be updated to ensure that Georgia families can thrive; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that Georgia’s government has a role to play, working with communities, families, and individuals, to foster and support strong families, and Georgia’s legislature should enact legislation designed to:

  1. Improve maternal and infant health by increasing access to the full range of affordable, comprehensive health care, including preventative, reproductive, and other essential health care services through access to sufficient, qualified providers.
  2. Identify and minimize racial disparities in health and economic outcomes by developing targeted intervention strategies to improve the health, wellness, and safety of all Georgia families.
  3. Strengthen and protect all Georgia families by implementing demonstrated best practices that achieve equitable outcomes and eliminate barriers preventing families from enjoying their rights, freedoms, and opportunities.
  4. Encourage employment policies that reflect Georgia’s commitment to helping strong families thrive by increasing workforce participation and ensuring all Georgians the can support themselves and their families.