Lawmakers introduce legislation to end maternal health crisis
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Lawmakers are drawing attention to some major disparities in women's health. More U.S. women die from pregnancy-related health issues than any other high-income country and some women are more at risk than others.
Lawmakers are calling the maternal mortality rate a crisis. They say it's getting worse and Black women are dying at much higher rates. A series of legislation hopes to make a change.
"I had this really powerful opportunity to be at a roundtable in Milwaukee with Black moms telling their stories and it's clear to me that there are so many different reasons for this incredible disparity," said Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Baldwin is co-sponsoring a package of legislation aimed at ending America's maternal health crisis.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is a multi-agency effort consisting of 13 bills. "The challenges were varied and frankly any one of these bills would not have fixed all of the things that I heard about," said Baldwin.
One of the 13 bills in the package is from Baldwin and focuses on improving access to maternal care. "I'm glad to co-lead the Perinatal Workforce Act so we can have more culturally congruent care and providers that are reflective of the communities they serve," she said.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore is also a sponsor of the Perinatal Workforce Act, which would establish grant programs to increase the number of maternal care providers.
"To make sure that we have not only just doctors and nurses but that we have an array of workers like doulas, midwives, people who .... it's been proven that these caretakers in the community can help lower the risk of maternal mortality," said Moore.
Maternal deaths have spiked by nearly 90% in recent years, according to the CDC. "In Wisconsin, Black maternal mortality is five times greater than that of white women...these are preventable deaths we believe," said Moore.
The Momnibus Act also aims to improve maternal health for other minority groups, veterans and vulnerable populations.
It was first introduced in 2020 and portions of it have already been signed into law, while much of it remains under negotiation.
Lawmakers say they're confident the full act can gain bipartisan support by the end of this year.
Click here for details on the legislation.