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Congresswoman Robin Kelly

Representing the 2nd District of Illinois

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Congresswoman Robin Kelly Testifies before House Ways & Means Committee on Maternal Mortality

May 16, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Robin Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and author of the MOMMAs Act, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee.

“As a momma, my heart goes out to those families who have lost their momma,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Starting or growing one’s family shouldn’t cost a mother of color her life. All mommas deserve a chance to be a momma. Together, we can make sure this is always the case…”

Her testimony before the committee was part of a hearing convened to examine and address America’s maternal mortality crisis and the disparities facing mothers of color. It is currently more dangerous to have a baby today than it was 25 years ago.

In her testimony, Congresswoman Kelly outlined the shocking racial disparities faced by Black and American Indian/Native Alaskan mothers. She said, “…women of color bear the brunt of burden across a myriad of health outcomes, especially with respect to maternal wellness. Black and Native American mommas die due to birthing complications at higher rates than any other mommas; they are 300 to 400 percent more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy related complications than white mothers.”

The full text of Congresswoman Kelly’s testimony can be found here.

To address America’s rising rate of mothers needlessly dying, Congresswoman Kelly introduced the Mothers and Offspring Maternal and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMAs) Act, a comprehensive multi-pronged approach to reducing maternal deaths. The legislation:

  • Builds on existing bipartisan legislation to further standardize data and reporting,
  • Establishes a national maternal mortality review committee to prevent future deaths,
  • Establishes, populates and disseminates best shared practices and emergency protocols to prevent death and injury,
  • Ensures culturally-competent care throughout the care continuum for all mothers, and
  • Extends the postpartum Medicare coverage window from 60 days to a full year so mothers can see their doctor when complication arise, as occurs in 70 percent of new mothers.

The legislation has 64 co-sponsors and has won the endorsement of the American Medical Association (AMA), National Medical Association (NMA), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, National Birth Equity Collaborative, MomsRising and many other organizations and advocates.

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