Members of Congress, Doctors and Advocates Renew Call to End Maternal Mortality
“Mommas are dying across this country. Every year, we lose more mommas to maternal mortality and it’s a sad fact that it’s more dangerous to have a baby today than it was 25 years ago,” began Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
Congresswoman Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and member of the health subcommittee, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke surrounded by medical doctors and health advocates outside the U.S. Capitol.
Together with Dr. Lisa Hollier, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Stacey D. Stewart, president and CEO of the March of Dimes, they called for Congressional action to reduce and end maternal mortality and morbidity.
During her remarks, Congresswoman Kelly announced that the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA’s) Act would be re-introduced in the coming days. Originally introduced in the last Congress, the MOMMA’s Act provides a comprehensive approach to addressing and ending maternal mortality in the United States.
In total, the MOMMA’s Act would make comprehensive reforms to the delivery of pregnancy, maternal and post-partum care by:
- Establishing national obstetric emergency protocols through a federal expert committee,
- Ensuring dissemination of best shared practices and coordination amongst maternal mortality review committees,
- Standardizing data collection and reporting,
- Improving access to culturally competent care throughout the care continuum, and
- Expanding Medicaid coverage to new mom’s entire post-partum period (1 year).
A livestream on the press conference is available here.
The MOMMA’s Act has already won support from many health and family advocates.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is thankful to Rep. Kelly for her leadership and commitment to safe and healthy moms and babies. The MOMMA’s Act is a critical step in eliminating preventable maternal mortality and will authorize funding for the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM), support efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and extend Medicaid coverage to 12-months postpartum,” said ACOG President Lisa M. Hollier, MD, MPH. “ACOG is proud to partner with Rep. Kelly and is fully committed to this issue. Today, nearly 700 OB-GYNs from all 50 states are urging their Members of Congress to support the MOMMA’s Act and join us in our work to eliminate preventable maternal mortality.”
“Every Mother Counts applauds Congresswoman Kelly for reintroducing the MOMMA’s Act and building momentum to improve maternal health and health equity. The MOMMA’s Act tackles some of the most pressing issues in our maternity care system today – from ensuring ongoing, national-level accountability to increasing access to culturally appropriate and respectful care training,” said Christy Turlington Burns, Founder of Every Mother Counts. “This bill would make sure hospitals and practitioners are prepared to implement best practices and would increase access to essential support for the women who need it most, when they need it most.”
“Even one maternal death is a tragedy. The fact that over 700 women die every year in the U.S. from pregnancy-related causes is a public health crisis,” stated March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “In addition, over 50,000 women suffer from serious complications of pregnancy that threaten their lives or health. Black women in Illinois are six times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than their white peers, a shocking disparity that we must commit ourselves to addressing. March of Dimes is grateful to Rep. Robin Kelly and Sen. Richard Durbin for their steadfast leadership through the MOMMA’s Act to protect the lives and health of pregnant women, especially women of color.”
“Becoming a mom is always life-changing. But the truth is, without the comprehensive care before, during, and after pregnancy and delivery that every mom needs and deserves, it can also be life-threatening. Our nation’s high maternal mortality rate is a painful example of American exceptionalism we shouldn’t accept. Every maternal death - or near death - is tragic. Every preventable maternal death must be considered unacceptable. We must do better for our moms and babies,” said Heidi Murkoff, maternal-child health advocate, creator of WhattoExpect.com and author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. “Let’s act together to speak up for every mom and every baby. Let’s act to ensure every mom, no matter where she lives, no matter what she can afford, gets the care she needs so she can deliver a healthy beginning and a healthy future for herself and the little one she loves. No exceptions. No disparities. Let’s act to nurture our nurturers as if our future depends on it...because it does. Let’s act to support all moms, all babies and the MOMMA’s Act now!”