The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on September 25 approved, by voice vote, a bill (S. 2980) that would reauthorize the Birth Defects Prevention Act (P.L. 105-168). The law authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to operate regional centers to conduct research on the prevention of birth defects. Currently, the CDC funds seven regional centers through its National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Sponsored by Sens. Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), the bill would authorize the CDC to not only conduct research on birth defects and disabilities, but also to further promote the prevention of birth defects and disabilities. Current law requires the CDC to report to Congress on its research on birth defects. The bill would require the CDC to include information on the incidence and prevalence of individuals living with birth defects and disabilities, as well as any health disparities experienced by these individuals, and recommendations for improving their health and quality of life in its report to Congress.