top of page


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.

Hrg 6 BFO.jpg
193rd Legislative Session 2023-2024

H.1984/S.1261 - An Act to expand equitable perinatal mental health services (the "Massachusetts Moms Matter Act")
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.

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. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.

H.3939/S.2398 - An Act relative to the wellbeing of new mothers and infants

The bill creates a centralized, comprehensive digital resource center on PMADs for use by patients and providers, and requires providers and organizations that serve perinatal individuals to provide information to their patients and clients on how to access the resource center. It also ensures that any defendant in a criminal proceeding who gave birth within 12 months prior to the alleged crime be screened for perinatal psychiatric complications, and provides that such complications shall be considered as mitigating circumstances in cases where life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is authorized. 

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. Designated as a Legislative Priority by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.

H.3616/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. 

H.2265 - An Act relative to pregnancy loss awareness

This bill would require the Commissioner of Public Health to disseminate information to the public on pregnancy loss and the prevalence of pregnancy loss, the accessibility of the range of evidence-based treatment options for pregnancy loss, including comprehensive mental health support and culturally responsive supports such as pregnancy loss doula care. The Commissioner also would be required to expand programs for conducting and supporting evidence-based research with respect to causes of and treatment options for pregnancy loss, and to disseminate information to perinatal health care workers on pregnancy loss and prioritizing both the physical and mental health care of the patient.

S.1415 - An Act relative to birthing justice in the Commonwealth

An omnibus bill encompassing many policies addressing perinatal health, equity, and birthing justice. 

H.2187 An Act relative to conducting fetal and infant mortality review

This bill would require authorized local health agencies to conduct in-depth review of each individual fetal and infant death in order to identify local factors associated with fetal and infant deaths--including racial inequities in fetal and infant health outcomes--and inform public health policy programs. 

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. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.

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.4278/S.1201 - An Act amending the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law to provide 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.

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.

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. Endorsed by the MA Caucus of Women Legislators.

bottom of page