When I reached out to District 25 state Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, to share our family’s story and ask for help, she jumped into action. Our daughter was born deaf due to congenital cytomegalovirus, the most common viral cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Despite how common and preventable CMV is, only 9 percent of women nationwide are aware of its risks and precautionary measures to take during pregnancy.
At the time, six other states had passed legislation requiring CMV education and screening and we hoped Maine would be next. Breen was incredibly supportive and proactive. Because of the bill she sponsored, a work group convened and recommended public health and newborn screening initiatives that will make a difference for countless families in Maine.
Maine’s collaborative CMV work group has become a new model for other states exploring CMV legislation. Without Breen’s leadership and support, none of this would be possible.