Lawmakers are (Finally) Taking Action on Maternal Mortality

Just one day after the House of Representatives passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, the U.S. Senate passed its companion bill—the Maternal Health Accountability Act.

MomsRising members protesting on Capitol Hill. (MomsRising)

It is thrilling to see Congress prioritizing the health and lives of pregnant women and treating maternal mortality as the national emergency that it is. Every year in this country, 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 suffer severe complications. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women independent of age, parity or education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of maternal deaths in this country are preventable.

Clearly, we need solutions—and this legislation will have a profound impact. It will establish a program to help states review maternal deaths, establish and sustain a maternal mortality review committee, support a plan to educate health care providers to improve maternal care, improve information collection on maternal deaths and provide for public disclosure of this information. It offers hope for addressing the factors that lead to the deaths of so many Black mothers and the stubborn racial disparities that continue to plague our health care system.

This legislation had bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. President Trump should waste no time in signing it into law. Moms are dying every day in this country. There is no time to waste.

About

Monifa Bandele is the senior vice president of MomsRising, an online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families.