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Press Release

Castor, Kim, Kelly, Joyce, Booker, Rubio Lead SHINE for Autumn Act to Reduce U.S. Stillbirth Rate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor (FL-14), Young Kim (CA-40), Robin Kelly (IL-02), and Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced the bipartisan Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the SHINE for Autumn Act in the Senate. Read the bill HERE.

This bipartisan bill aims to prevent stillbirth through enhanced data collection, research, education, and awareness by creating the first comprehensive, federal-state partnership to reduce stillbirth rates in the United States. 

According to the CDC, stillbirth affects 1 in 170 pregnancies, with over 21,000 babies born still each year, or 57 babies dying every day. In the United States, the annual number of stillbirths far exceeds the number of deaths among children aged 0-14 years from accidents, preterm birth, SIDS, drownings, fire, and flu combined. 

“Together we can address the serious maternal and infant health crisis that is tearing families apart and causing significant pain and trauma,” said Rep. Kathy Castor. “Long-standing disparities among racial and ethnic groups persist, with Black women more than twice as likely to experience stillbirth as White women. With nearly one out of every four stillbirths estimated to be preventable, we need real change that will lead to measurable improvements in outcomes for mothers and babies. I’m thankful to my bipartisan colleagues, Reps. Kim, Kelly, and Joyce for joining me in reintroducing the SHINE for Autumn Act - legislation I’ve fought to pass for years to reduce the stillbirths in America.”

“As a mom and grandma, I experienced the hardships of pregnancy firsthand and recently grieved with one of my daughters through the pain of losing a baby. Helping moms, moms-to-be, and their babies is personal to me,” said Rep. Young Kim. “Each pregnancy faces unique challenges, and at least 1 in every 4 stillbirths is preventable. The SHINE for Autumn Act will help us gain the research, resources, and education needed to prevent stillbirths, support our health workforce, and help women have healthy pregnancies. I am proud to lead this commonsense bill that will positively impact moms and families, and I’ll keep fighting for maternal health care solutions as co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus.”

“Stillbirth is a deeply painful experience for mothers and families. We owe it to our constituents to find solutions that will mitigate the risk of stillbirth and support mothers who have suffered from such a loss,” said Rep. Robin Kelly. “I am proud join Rep. Young Kim as co-chairs of the Maternity Care Caucus to identify bipartisan solutions to a challenge that too many families face. Every mother deserves a health pregnancy and happy life with her baby. I’m committed to ending the maternal health crisis and getting mothers and babies the care they need.” 

“Ohio has one of the country’s highest stillbirth rates, outpacing the national average and failing to show meaningful signs of improvement,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “We must leverage federal resources to prevent this continued avoidable loss of life. The SHINE for Autumn Act takes a critical step in stillbirth prevention by funding enhanced research, training, and awareness of this issue and arming healthcare providers with the tools to help prevent it. I am proud to lead this effort with Congresswoman Kim and my colleagues to save lives in our communities.”

“It is unacceptable that despite being the wealthiest country in the world, the United States continues to see high stillbirth rates, resulting in thousands of families grappling with the unthinkable,” said Senator Booker. “We must do more to address this crisis by raising awareness and ensuring our health care providers have the resources they need to address preventable deaths. This bipartisan legislation is an important step to improve data collection on stillbirth and enhance research, training, and awareness to help put an end to this crisis.”

“The U.S. stillbirth rate is unacceptable and must be addressed. Losing a child is an unimaginable tragedy, and we should use all resources available to prevent this devastating loss of life. I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation that would employ resources to significantly lower the number of stillborn babies in the United States,” said Senator Rubio.

The SHINE for Autumn Act is named in honor of Autumn Joy, who was born still on July 8, 2011. Her death tragically impacted her family and propelled her mother, Debbie, toward helping others through stillbirth advocacy. She has been working tirelessly to give Autumn’s short life a purpose, and to shed light on this heartbreaking public health crisis.

Debbie Haine Vijayvergiya, Autumn’s mom, said, “July 8th marked 12 years since Autumn was born silently into this world and life as I knew it was changed forever. I’ve spent every day since working tirelessly to give a voice to her and the hundreds of thousands of babies that have been born still since. And here we are, on this momentous day, during Autumn’s birthday month, reintroducing the SHINE for Autumn Act into the 118th Congress. I could not be more grateful for all the bipartisan stillbirth champions who have made today possible. The time is NOW to bring stillbirth out of the shadows, once and for all, with the SHINE for Autumn Act!” 

The SHINE for Autumn Act aims to bridge gaps in stillbirth data, research, and education by allowing for:

  • Grants to states to support data collection, assessment, and reporting on stillbirth and stillbirth risk factors;
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with health care providers, to develop guidelines and educational materials for state departments of health and statistics on stillbirth data collection, data sharing, and educational materials on stillbirth;
  • The incorporation of Perinatal Pathology Fellowship Program at the NIH to fund research fellowships on stillbirth, including research and training on fetal autopsies and improved education, research, and data collection; and, 
  • A report on the effectiveness of the Perinatal Pathology Fellowship Program after five years of enactment.

The SHINE for Autumn Act is supported by many organizations including March for Dimes, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Group B Strep International, MomsRising, March for Moms, Just Actions, The Iris Fund, Three Little Birds Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Healthy Birth Day, Inc/ Count the Kicks, the Shane Foundation, First Breath, Aaliyah in Action, and PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy. Read their quotes of support HERE and read the full list of supporting organizations HERE.