Advocacy

Open Arms believes that healing and solutions come from within communities. After years of providing perinatal support to thousands of birthing people, we learned that our voice and expertise can drive impactful policy changes to improve birth outcomes in historically marginalized communities. 

Advancing Birth and Reproductive Justice

We work alongside organizational partners, lobbyists, and community members to advance birth equity and health justice at the local, state, and federal levels. 

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Advocacy Priority Areas

We prioritize legislation crucial to reducing racial disparities in peripartum and infant health outcomes and improving state support for families with young children.  

Equitable Access to Care and Reproductive Justice
  • All birthing people deserve equitable access to doula care, reproductive and perinatal services, and comprehensive health insurance coverage. Increasing access is imperative for reducing racial disparities in birth outcomes for families with low incomes and Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. 
  • Recent priority legislation 
    • In 2022, we supported House Bill 1881, which created a new credential for doulas within the Washington Department of Health. This victory lays the foundation for the public reimbursement of doula services, increasing future access to doula support by low-income families. 
Maternal and Infant Health
  • The United States has the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the Global North. When broken down by ethnic and racial categories, Black birthing people are dying at three times the rate of their White counterparts. We support legislation that offers real solutions to improve health outcomes and increase services for birthing people of color and families with low incomes.
  • Recent priority legislation 
    • In 2022, we supported SB 5765, which authorized Licensed Midwives to prescribe contraceptives for their postpartum clients, as well as treat common conditions of a healthy pregnancy. 
    • In the 2022 legislative session, we also supported SB 5702, which requires health insurance plans to cover donor breast milk for babies whose birth parent is physically or medically unable to produce human milk or participate in bodyfeeding. 
    • We supported Perinatal Support Washington’s Parent Support Warm Line to expand access for underserved expectant and new parents to mental health services through peer-to-peer engagement and increased public awareness. 
    • HB 1947/SB 5838, which provides a diaper subsidy for families on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which passed in 2022 with our support.
Racial Justice
  • Our mission for birth justice and equity intersects with the movements for racial justice. We support legislation that uplifts, protects, and champions issues of Washington’s historically marginalized and oppressed communities. 
  • Recent priority legislation 
    • HB 1725 created the first endangered missing person advisory designation for missing Indigenous persons in the United States. 
    • HB 1571 increased protections and services for Indigenous persons who are missing, murdered or survivors of human trafficking.

Legislative Agendas

Each year, Open Arms identifies legislation at the local, state, and national levels that champions Birth and Reproductive Justice. Read our legislative agendas through the years.

2022

Legislative Agenda 2022

Do you have questions or want to get further involved? Contact our lobbyist, Amber Ulvenes.

Open Arms is in the 36th legislative district of Seattle and we are grateful for the partnerships with our local policymakers. Make sure you are registered to vote and find out who your local representative is here