Sanity may be restored with word “mother” added back to PA Doula bill instead of “pregnant individual”

08 May 2024- Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Republican chair of the House Health Committee, announced a bill she amended that would extend Medicaid coverage to doula services was unanimously approved by the House. Rapp’s amendment removed the term “pregnant individual” and replaced it with the word “mother,” reversing a change made in a prior amendment.

“Here in the month of May, we don’t celebrate ‘Pregnant Individual’s Day,’ we celebrate Mother’s Day,” Rapp said. “The word ‘mother’ was in the original bill, but it was removed by an amendment that passed the House Health Committee by a party-line vote, with all Republicans voting no. With the bill restored to its original form, it returned to a measure I wholeheartedly support. Doulas provide vital support to women across the Commonwealth during pregnancy and childbirth.”

House Bill 1608 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill itself did not seem to raise many eyebrows as it was previously written, with Medicaid funding potentially being made available for expecting mothers that want doulas. Doulas, it should be said, are essentially birthing coaches that help expecting mothers, those that have been through traumatic incidents in pregnancy, and other matters involving women’s health.

What was controversial, however, was the striking of the word “mother” in the bill and its replacement being “birthing individual”. Passing on party lines, only Democrats voted for the change.

We detail all of that with PA State Representative Rob Kauffman in a sit down last week. Hear it all on demand below.