WAUWATOSA — Women and doctors expressed support Monday for Governor Tony Evers' budget proposal for nearly $28 million toward improving women health care services and racial disparities.
Evers' proposal was first announced in February. On Monday advocates and health professionals stood with Representative Robyn Vining and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes during a press conference urging people to support the move.
The initiatives look to address improve women's access to preventative care, support healthier pregnancies and births, and fund programs to cut down racial disparities.
For babies of non-Hispanic black women, Wisconsin is one of the top states for infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
It is one of the sobering statistics that women and doctors said shows a need for change.
"OB-GYNS have long recognized that continuous quality and affordable medical care is vital to the health and well-being of our patients," Dr. Kathy Hartke, an OB-GYN and Wisconsin Legislative Co-Chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Shonita Roach, a mother and advocate with Shades of You Shades of Me, told the crowd these efforts would have helped during and after her pregnancy with her son Isaac.
"In 2013 I gave birth to a child who was suggested that I abort," said Roach.
Roach said that the day she was expecting to find out her baby's gender and celebrate she learned her baby had congenital diaphragmatic hernia or CDH.
CDH occurs when there is a hole in the baby's diaphragm and organs move into their chest.
Roach said she was devastated and when she continued with her pregnancy and later suffered postpartum depression the way she was treated was unhealthy.
"I could not find any group support I was offered CPS services and I was offered law-enforcement," said Roach.
She explained how her experience created barriers for getting the healthcare she needed. Now working as an advocate for other women, Roach said her experience is not limited to her.
"It comes from minority mothers and women across-the-board who have suffered some disparity or some disadvantage being in the healthcare system," said Roach.
She hopes change will come and help other minority mothers.