The Ellen Story Commission on Postpartum Depression
A Massachusetts Special Legislative Commission
Advocacy is a core component of improving perinatal mental health in Massachusetts. Through advocacy, all citizens and stakeholders can use their voices and experiences, both lived and professional, to influence legislation. The Ellen Story Commission supports and uplifts the voices of birthing people and families that have experienced or currently are experiencing PMADs. This Commission always will advocate for improved perinatal mental health outcomes, and we hope you will join us--your voice matters!
Use the Find My Legislator button to look up your Massachusetts state Representative and Senator. Ask them to endorse and support legislation aimed at improving perinatal mental health for families in your community. Learn more about this session's policy efforts below.
With the 193rd legislative session underway, the Ellen Story Commission is examining proposed legislation and recommending additional policy related to its mission. There is a lot of work to do! Click on the bill numbers to learn more about them, including their text, which legislators have endorsed them, and what committees will be considering them.
This page is updated weekly and information about committee hearings will be added as it becomes available.
Update 3/16/23: Initial committee assignments have been made. See below.
193rd Legislative Session 2023-2024
H.2163/S.1375 - An Act relative to postpartum depression screenings
The bill would require MassHealth to cover screening for PPD in mothers at pediatrician's visits up to one year following birth. Currently screening only is required up until six months postpartum. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Health. Designated as a Legislative Priority by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.
H.1984/S.1261 - An Act to expand equitable perinatal mental health services
The bill establishes two grant programs: one would grow and diversify the perinatal mental health workforce by investing in schools or programs offering education and training in perinatal mental health, and the second would invest in a range of community-based programs that support perinatal mental health, such as group prenatal care, suicide prevention, and SUD treatment for pregnant and postpartum individuals. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.
Fact Sheet (courtesy of MA Mind the Gap Coalition)
H.1240/S.782 - An Act relative to Medicaid coverage for doula services
The bill would require coverage of doula services to pregnant and postpartum individuals up to 12 months following the end of the pregnancy. This includes continuous support through labor and childbirth, as well as at least six visits in the prenatal and one year postpartum period, including at least two postpartum visits. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.
H.2209/S.1457 - An Act promoting access to midwifery care and out-of-hospital birth options
This bill would create and require licensure for midwives who provide out-of-hospital birth care under the oversight of a new Board of Midwifery, consistent with most other states in the nation and recommendations from the Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health. The bill also would permit midwives to carry and administer life-saving medications and provide health payer coverage for midwifery services. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Health. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.
Fact Sheet (courtesy of Bay State Birth Coalition)
S.708 - An Act enhancing post-pregnancy mental health care
This bill would target the harmful impacts of unaddressed post-pregnancy mental health needs, by requiring full insurance coverage for all post-pregnancy mental health needs. The bill is inclusive of all post-pregnancy circumstances, including those that do not result in a baby. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Financial Services. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.
H.1948/S.1201 - An Act relative to paid pregnancy loss leave
The bill would require employers to grant employees 10 days of paid leave for absence related to pregnancy loss, an unsuccessful round of IUI or an assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed or incomplete adoption, a failed surrogacy arrangement, or a diagnosis or event that impacts pregnancy or fertility. This also covers leave for an absence to care for a spouse or domestic partner experiencing the above-listed circumstances. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.
H.149/S.104 - An Act establishing a diaper benefits pilot program
Supportive perinatal resources and community resources can lead to improved mental health outcomes for birthing people and their families. This bill would create a pilot program under which DPH would issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for diaper banks, food banks, and food pantries to provide diapers to low-income parents to address diaper need and diaper insufficiency. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.
Massachusetts Diaper Facts (courtesy of National Diaper Bank Network)
S.1335 - An Act updating the regulations governing licensed birth centers in Massachusetts
The bill would support new and existing birth centers by addressing regulations that inhibit the development and sustainability of freestanding birth centers. The Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health recommended policy to modernize the Commonwealth's restrictive and outdated regulations in order to improve the lived experience of people of color by establishing affordable birthing centers that are led by maternal health professionals that are culturally competent and/or representative of the communities they serve. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Health.
Fact Sheet (courtesy of Bay State Birth Coalition)
H.985/S.672 - An Act increasing access to maternal postpartum home visiting services
The Department of Public Health would establish and administer a statewide system of programs providing universal postpartum home visiting services, and require insurance coverage for at least one visit within 8 weeks postpartum. Services would include: screenings for, e.g., substance use, emotional health, personal safety; clinical assessment of the birthing person and infant; education and support; referrals to community resources (e.g. breastfeeding supports); follow up phone calls, and more. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Financial Services.
S.1415 - An Act relative to birthing justice in the Commonwealth
An omnibus bill encompassing many policies addressing perinatal health, equity, and birthing justice. Assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Health.