Yesterday, the CDC released data indicating that the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has increased by 14% from 2019 to 2020, indicating that the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis have been dire for maternal health, particularly for Black women.
The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-President Dina Bakst, a key leader in the movement to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:
“The new CDC data showing a staggering spike in the U.S.’s already shameful maternal mortality rate underscores the urgent need for Congress to advance systemic solutions to this crisis and support mothers, particularly mothers of color, during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Lawmakers can do this right now by passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would ensure pregnant and postpartum workers have the right to medically-necessary accommodations, so they aren’t forced to risk their health at work. Too often, as we see firsthand through our helpline, workers face issues like preeclampsia, UTIs, abdominal injuries, and preterm birth after being denied modest accommodations like light duty, bathroom breaks or a modified work schedule by their employers. The pandemic and resulting economic crisis have only made workers more vulnerable to this kind of mistreatment, as women have struggled to stay attached to the labor force. Congress must put a stop to this injustice, and protect maternal health, by passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act without delay.”