State advocacy

The March of Dimes volunteers and staff work to influence both legislative and regulatory activities in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - serving as powerful voices for the needs of pregnant women, infants, children and families.  Our efforts span the full range of our annual Advocacy & Government Affairs priorities, including access to care, research and surveillance, prevention and education, and issues important to tax-exempt organizations.

State advocacy priorities and wins 2016

View our interactive map to learn more about policy priorities and wins in your state. Download March of Dimes State Advocacy Agenda 2018 here. 

In 2017, advocacy was spectacularly successful on the state level!  Across the nation, March of Dimes secured 207 state and local legislative and regulatory wins across a wide range of maternal and child health priorities.

New York led with 14 victories, followed by Texas with 13 and Illinois close behind with 12 wins. Minnesota contributed nine wins, Mississippi and Vermont secured eight, and Washington State, Massachusetts, and Tenessee immediately followed each with seven wins. 

The following are just a few examples of the important victories notched this year:

  • We increased and protected access to care for moms, babies and families:  Initiatives passed included protecting health coverage for women of childbearing age and children in Arkansas, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Oklahoma; expanding birth spacing options in Georgia, Nevada and Washington State; and expanding access to the drug 17P to prevent preterm birth in Illinois and Ohio.  Missouri passed legislation to help ensure that pregnant women and babies with health risks are treated at facilities fully qualified to meet their special needs.
  • We are addressing disparities in health:  Advocates passed legislation in Connecticut and Washington State requiring most employers to make modest adjustments to working conditions for pregnant women who need them.  In Tennessee, New York and Utah, funding for home visiting programs that will support pregnant and parenting women was secured.  Legislation passed in California and Colorado to support maternal mental health screening, and Texas will study the rates and disparities of serious complications and death among women during and after pregnancy.
  • We are decreasing the risk of premature birth:  New tobacco-related initiatives (including raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21) were passed in New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, Utah, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming to help ensure fewer babies are harmed by tobacco and nicotine products.
  • More newborns will be screened for more conditions:  Screening all newborns for life-threatening conditions, as recommended by national experts, passed in the following states:
    • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder (SCID): Arizona
    • Pompe Disease: California, Nebraska
    • X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD): Florida, Nebraska, Texas
    • Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 1 (MPS I): California, Nebraska
  • Fewer babies will be born exposed to drugs:  Important initiatives such as improved access to comprehensive services and priority access and flexible treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome to help prevent newborns from being born exposed to opioids and other drugs were passed in Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.
  • States are taking steps to combat birth defects caused by Zika virus: Initiatives such as mosquito control, Zika case tracking, and comprehensive services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika were passed in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Texas. 

Below are just a few examples of fact sheets and issue briefs used in successful state advocacy efforts.

See also: Advocacy and Government Affairs Issues and Priorities, State Advocacy Priorities & Wins MapFederal advocacyMarch of Dimes Foundation Data Book for Policy Makers and Peristats.