Bill Creating Doula Public Awareness Campaign Clears Assembly Committee

Legislation that would require the establishment of a public awareness campaign to provide information about doulas cleared the Assembly Aging and Human Services Committee on Monday. Doulas, also called birth companions or birth coaches, provide physical, emotional, and informational support to mothers before, during, and after childbirth.

Bill A4222, sponsored by Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, would task the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS), in consultation with the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, with creating the campaign. Through printed and electronic materials, the campaign would highlight the roles doulas play in supporting individuals giving birth, as well as call attention to free or low-cost resources in New Jersey related to doula services and increasing access to doula services.

Under A4222, the materials would be developed in the top ten languages most commonly spoken in the state. It would then be available on the NJDHS website and through a variety of entities, including, but not limited to, Planned Parenthood health clinics, local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (better known as the WIC) program agencies and clinic offices, pharmacies and county human services offices.

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