SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A recent report published by America’s Health Rankings says that Louisiana is the nation’s least healthy state for women and children.

The 2022 Health of Women and Children Report ranks each of the 50 states in areas of health, including maternal mortality rates, infant mortality, access to prenatal care, teen pregnancy, food sufficiency, and other health factors.

Not only does Louisiana rank number 50 overall, but it also falls into the bottom five in crucial indicators of overall health: social and economic factors, physical environment, behaviors, health outcomes, low rate of college-educated women, and clinical care.

The report does not project all gloom and doom for the women and children of Louisiana. It lists a low prevalence of ADD/ADHD treatment and a high prevalence of well-woman visits as strengths in the health of women and children in the state.

Act 676, introduced by Senator Regina Barrow (D), directly addresses health disparities women face in Louisiana.

The bill creates The Office on Women’s Health and Community Health, a new division of the Louisiana Department of Health.

Language in the bill says the office will be responsible for improving women’s health outcomes through policy, education, evidence-based practices, programs, and services. The office on women’s health and community health shall serve as a clearinghouse, coordinating agency, and resource center for women’s health data and strategies, services, programs, and initiatives that address women’s health-related concerns.

Primary areas of focus for the Office of Women’s Health and Community Health

  • health needs throughout a woman’s life
  • chronic or acute conditions that significantly affect women, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and osteoporosis
  • access to health care for women
  • the impact of poverty on women’s health
  • the leading causes of morbidity and mortality for women
  • health disparities of women in the community

Act 676 specifies that the office will only provide services and education to women born as biological females, and the office is prohibited from promoting abortion services.