TRENTON - An assemblywoman from Essex County wants to see more young minority women get the prenatal care they need.
With a 2008 state Department of Health and Senior Services study highlighting disparities in prenatal care, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver plans a hearing Thursday on ways to reduce inequities.
"New Jersey is too good to rank near the bottom when it comes to the state of health care for expectant mothers and their children," said Oliver, a Democrat who chairs the Assembly Human Services Committee.
Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard is scheduled to speak about the state's campaign to raise awareness of prenatal care, and Oliver is sponsoring a bill that calls for the continuation of obstetric services if a clinic closes or reduces its hours.
The bill would authorize the commissioner to dedicate money from the Health Care Stabilization Fund to support obstetrics at a financially distressed health-care center.
"Worries such as lack of transportation and reduction of services at our clinics shouldn't be preventing women, most notably teenagers and African American women, from getting the care that they need to ensure their babies have the best chance at being born healthy and strong," Oliver said.
Also on the agenda of Thursday's Assembly session are two bills that would provide caretakers with information to protect children.
One, sponsored by Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam, both Cape May County Democrats, and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D., Hudson), aims to prevent accidents involving tipped-over furniture and televisions. The bill is named Chloe and Samantha's Law after two girls who were killed when large televisions fell on them.
The bill would require anyone selling or renting household products to provide written notice about devices to anchor or stabilize them or otherwise prevent tipping. The requirement would apply to dressers, bookcases, bureaus and armoires at least 42 inches tall; TV screens of at least 25 inches; and all TV stands.
"This is smart and sensible legislation that would protect our young children from tragic accidents," Albano said.