A Maryland law gives pregnant undocumented immigrant women free healthcare, highlights the challenges of childbirth and what’s needed for healthy pregnancy.
Before, Maryland used to require undocumented pregnant women to have an immigration status and to lawfully reside in the state for health insurance before they could offer them medical care.
It wasn’t until July 1 that the state passed the Healthy Babies Equity Act, which allows undocumented pregnant women to access federally funded healthcare for prenatal, pregnancy and post-partum care.
A group of postpartum women and their children gathered at the CCI Health Services clinic on Oct. 20 morning for a reunion where they spoke to the clinic doctor about their birth experiences and played games that, for some, were a welcome to their journey as new parents, all while sharing food and laughs.
The clinic doctor and provider Aastasshia Lacy spoke about this gathering also means on the medical side.
“On the medical side, we’re making sure that their vital signs still look stable, so let’s say, well, there’s no blood pressure issues, but they’ve made their postpartum appointments,” said Lacy, “So it’s just the way for us to connect with them now post baby and then also make sure that they have their next care scheduled.”
The Healthy Babies Act will ensure help for a lot of women. “When we come to the meetings, they give us pampers and other valuable resources like car seats,” said a woman who declined to give her name.
Free healthcare for undocumented pregnant women in the U.S. is rare, but California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, New York, and Maryland have versions of it.