New Jersey Senator Introduces Bill That Would Require Pregnant Women, Infants To Receive HIV Tests
New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey (D) on Thursday introduced a bill (S 2704) that would require all pregnant women and infants in the state to be tested for HIV unless women choose in writing to opt out of the test, the AP/Cherry Hill Courier Post reports (Hester, AP/Cherry Hill Courier Post, 5/13). Current state law requires health care providers to offer HIV tests to pregnant women. Codey's bill would require pregnant women to be tested for HIV as early as possible in their pregnancy and again during the third trimester. Under the bill, every birthing facility in the state also would be required to provide infants under their care with HIV tests. In addition, physicians and health care providers would be required to provide pregnant women with information about HIV/AIDS, the benefits of being tested, available medical treatment and how treatment can reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/23).
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, New Jersey has some of the highest numbers of pediatric HIV/AIDS cases nationwide. Codey has called the bill a "no brainer," the AP/Courier Post reports. The Center for Women Policy Studies opposes mandatory testing, saying that it violates a woman's right to make her own birthing and medical treatment decisions. The bill will be scheduled for hearings in the coming weeks, the AP/Courier Post reports (AP/Cherry Hill Courier Post, 5/13).