Earlier this week, Congressmembers Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams, Senator Cory Booker, and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act—a package of legislation that would comprehensively address America’s Black maternal health crisis and promote justice for Black pregnant people and new mothers. We are proud to to support this critical legislation and join our partners including the National Birth Equity Collaborative and Black Mamas Matter Alliance who are leading this effort.
The Momnibus Act includes measures that would address social determinants of poor maternal health outcomes, invest in community-based organizations, improve data collection, and grow and diversify the perinatal workforce. Alarmingly, Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Black mothers are also more likely than white mothers to experience serious medical complications during pregnancy. These inequities persist regardless of income or education level, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates that systemic racism and racial discrimination are major contributing factors that cause poor health outcomes for Black mothers.
At A Better Balance, we see up close how the workplace can affect Black maternal health. “Through our free and confidential legal helpline, we see the systemic racism and inequality Black women face day in and day out, as we work to ensure they can maintain their health and economic security during pregnancy and motherhood. This has only been brought into sharper relief during the pandemic as we see Black pregnant people facing higher rates of exposure to the virus, often due to systemic discrimination, including in the workplace,” said ABB’s director of the D.C. office and Senior Policy Counsel, Sarah Brafman, in a press release about the bill’s introduction.
Thanks to Rep. Underwood’s and Rep. Adams’ leadership along with the leadership of Black women-led reproductive justice organizations, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is the bold and multi-faceted solution this country urgently needs to help address the crisis head on. We call on Congress to take action on this important legislation without delay.