On September 23, the Senate approved, by unanimous consent, thePrenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act (S. 1810). The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee approved the measure on April 21. The House approved the measure, by voice vote, on September 25.
The bill would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to public and private organizations to collect and disseminate evidence-based information relating to prenatal and postnatal conditions, including Down Syndrome. The bill also requires the establishment of a telephone resource hotline for families with children diagnosed with such conditions, a national registry of families willing to adopt children with Down Syndrome and other prenatally and postnatally diagnosed conditions, and awareness and education programs for health care providers who provide, interpret, or inform parents of the results of prenatal tests for such conditions. Any information distributed to health care providers or the public would be required to be culturally and linguistically sensitive. The bill would authorize $5 million per year for FY2008-2012 for these activities.
In a statement, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), the bill’s sponsor, said, “I am very pleased that the legislation cosponsored by Sen. [Edward] Kennedy [D-MA] and me passed the Senate. This bill will greatly benefit expecting parents who receive the sometimes overwhelming news that their unborn child may be born with a disability. This legislation will provide parents with current and reliable information about the many options available for caring for children with disabilities.”