SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri is joining a list of states fighting to protect the health of low-income new mothers.

SB 45 would expand Medicaid healthcare coverage from two months to a full year. The expansion in healthcare coverage would apply to mental health services as well. President Biden first made the option for extended Medicare services back in 2021. 

One area that may make a difference is with pregnant mothers or mothers who have already had a child.

Missouri has the seventh-highest maternal mortality rate in the country according to the State’s Health and Senior Services.

In a report that the department released last year says from 2017 to 2019, an average of 61 mothers died while pregnant or within one year of giving birth and the department says three-fourths of those deaths could have been prevented.

In Missouri, abortion is banned except under specific medical emergencies but leaders in the legislation say they want to help mothers by redefining pro-life policies.

The last day for the Missouri Legislative session is this Friday, May 12.