Politics & Government

This mom in Congress wants to help breast-feeding moms. She’ll get a vote Wednesday.

Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder of the African American Breastfeeding Network, talks with young mothers as she holds a baby from an attendee at a monthly gathering that promotes breast-feeding at a YMCA in Milwaukee. On Wednesday, the U.S. House will vote on a bill that would require the federal government to conduct more research into health risks faced by women who use medications while breast-feeding.
Dalvery Blackwell, co-founder of the African American Breastfeeding Network, talks with young mothers as she holds a baby from an attendee at a monthly gathering that promotes breast-feeding at a YMCA in Milwaukee. On Wednesday, the U.S. House will vote on a bill that would require the federal government to conduct more research into health risks faced by women who use medications while breast-feeding. AP

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Wednesday on a bill that would require the federal government to conduct more research into health risks faced by women who use medications for diseases while breast-feeding.

"Moms who take medication for chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes or depression are often playing a guessing game when it comes to the impacts on them and their babies,” said Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, the bill’s chief sponsor.

Herrera Beutler, 38, who gave birth to her second child in May, said that all too often women must choose whether to take medications with unknown and potentially harmful effects or not to treat their medical conditions at all.

“Both are poor choices,” Herrera Beutler said Tuesday.

Her bill, called the Safe Medications for Moms and Babies Act, would create a new task force of federal and medical experts to study the issue and report to Congress. It’s co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida.

Herrera Beutler said the legislation was part of the 21st Century Cures Act, a broader measure dealing with medical cures and devices.

She predicted that it will pass both the House and Senate and get signed into law before the end of the year.

Rob Hotakainen: 202-383-6154, @HotakainenRob

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