Pregnant and Poor

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Abe Aboraya, a Health News Florida reporter based at WMFE in Orlando, has been selected as one of seven journalists in the country for a year-long investigative reporting project.

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

WMFE

There is a seven-county stretch in North Central Florida -- an area larger than Puerto Rico -- where every county health department has gotten out of prenatal care.

Since then, the rate of women getting in to see a doctor in the first trimester has dropped in all seven  counties.

WMFE

The Florida Department of Health wants Sarasota County to privatize its prenatal care in the next three years. And that has its southern neighbors worried – after all, when Charlotte County privatized health care, residents started leaving the county for care.

WMFE

Most county health departments no longer offer services to pregnant women. But on Florida’s Space Coast, the opposite is true: The county health department offers 100 percent coverage for pregnant women.

WMFE

  Xavier Francesco Medlin is only 11-days-old and detoxing from prescription drugs. His mother Hillary Medlin gazes down on him as she gives him a bottle, and baby Xavier starts to scream.

Wikimedia Commons

Florida is one of only three states where county public health departments employ obstetricians for pregnant women.

It’s a legacy of the 1990s, when Florida’s infant mortality rate was one of the worst in the nation. But this safety net is eroding.