WASHINGTON, D.C. – As we kick off the start of Black Maternal Health Week, Black women in this country are still experiencing unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes and serious complications related to childbirth. Black women are still three to four times more likely to experience pregnancy-related death than white women. These persistent and pervasive health inequities are shown through both extensive research and through the personal experiences of Black women around the country including celebrities like Serena Williams and Beyonce sharing their own stories of severe pregnancy complications. The need to amplify this issue and listen to Black women is stronger than ever.
We applaud Congresswomen Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and Alma Adams (D-N.C.) for launching the first ever Black Maternal Health Caucus with the goal of taking the bold action needed to significantly improve outcomes and save Black women’s lives. The National Partnership and allies in the maternal health community will join together this week led by Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) to amplify the voices of Black mamas, center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements, and elevate community-driven policy, research, and care solutions.
To support this important work, the National Partnership is releasing a suite of materials highlighting opportunities to reduce Black maternal health disparities. The Improving Maternal Health Outcomes Requires Bold Congressional Action fact sheet outlines key elements that maternal health legislation must have in order to reduce disparities, improve safety and increase access to providers and settings that women want. In conjunction with Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the National Partnership is releasing Federal Legislation to Improve Maternal Health: Summary and Status, a table comparing legislation introduced in the 115th and 116th Congress with the potential to improve maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity rates. Additionally, the National Partnership is releasing a new issue brief on community based care models. Tackling Maternal Health Disparities: A Look at Four Local Organizations with Innovative Approaches highlights Commonsense Childbirth, Mamatoto Village, Breath of my Heart Birthplace, and Mama Sana Vibrant Woman that provide respectful culturally relevant care that can help narrow the disparities in maternal health outcomes.
“We need to do a better job of listening to Black women”, said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “We know that Black women are not receiving the health care or support they need to thrive before, during and after childbirth, and that is not acceptable. The National Partnership is proud to be a partner in the second annual Black Maternal Health Week campaign and pleased to see the current Congress take steps to work towards a solution to these startling health disparities.”
Visit BMMA’s website to learn more about the work of Black-women-led organizations who are pushing for reproductive justice and birth justice.
National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care, and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.
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