Bill to create maternal death review panel heads to governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A bill to determine why so many Idaho women die while pregnant or from childbirth-related complications is headed to the governor's desk.

The Post Register reports the legislation to create a panel of doctors and medical professionals to study maternal deaths passed the Senate easily on Tuesday.

Idaho's maternal death rate is slightly higher than the national average at about 27 per 100,000 births. The United States' maternal mortality rate of roughly 26 deaths per 100,000 births is more than three times higher than many European countries, and most states have created review panels similar to the one proposed in Idaho.

If Gov. Brad Little signs the bill into law, the panel will be expected to gather data about maternal deaths that occur during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, and then making recommendations about how to reduce such deaths. The legislation has a sunset clause that will automatically dissolve the panel in 2023 unless lawmakers renew it.

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