Unveiled the Mothers and Offspring Maternal & Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA) Act to Reverse America’s Rising Maternal Mortality Rate
HARVEY—(ENEWSPF)—May 13, 2018
By: May Paleologos
Congresswoman Robin Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, unveiled the MOMMA Act to reverse America’s rising maternal mortality rate.
Rep. Kelly announced the new legislation locally at Ingalls Memorial Hospital on Saturday in Harvey. Speaking in support of the bill were Dr. Nicole Williams, founder of the Gynecological Institute of Chicago; Dr. Kimberley Darey, Medical Director of Obstetrics at Elmhurst Hospital; Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson, President-Elect of the National Medical Association; Dr. Claudia Fegan of Cook County Health and Hospitals System, and Janice Phillips, director of Nursing Research and Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center.
“For decades, the global rate of women dying from, during and after childbirth has been steadily declining. At the same time, the number of American mothers dying has been increasing,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Hundreds of American mothers are dying; it’s time for Congress to do something about it.”
The U.S. maternal mortality rate is the highest amongst our peer nations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 700 American women die each year from pregnancy or childbirth complications. Some experts estimated that as many as half of these deaths are preventable.
While the rate of maternal mortality is rising across the board, African American women are three to four times more likely to die than their white counterparts.
Illinois’ maternal mortality rate is two and half times the national average. Black women in Illinois are 350% more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than their white counterparts. Chicago and suburban Cook County have rates of severe maternal morbidity that are much higher than other parts of Illinois.
“Starting or growing your family shouldn’t mean putting your life at risk,” added Congresswoman Kelly. “Every momma deserves the chance to be a momma – that’s why I’m working to pass the MOMMA Act.”
The legislation has won the support of multiple organizations and experts dedicated to preserving and advancing women’s health.
“The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) is proud to support the MOMMA’s Act introduced by Congresswoman Robin Kelly,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of BWHI. “BWHI believes in policy efforts that work to improve our health and hospital systems, train our providers to guard against implicit bias and collect data that incorporates the lived experiences of Black women. Black women of all socioeconomic backgrounds bear the weight of the maternal mortality crisis. We must urge Congress to take more meaningful action to improve maternal outcomes for Black women and all women. The MOMMA’s Act is a crucial step toward that goal.”
“One component of Rep. Kelly’s bill will support the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health – or AIM – which ACOG helped to found. AIM is a NATIONAL ALLIANCE of hospitals, providers, state health departments, and women’s health organizations that are working to implement standardized obstetric protocols across the country. Through this partnership, we will ensure all hospitals adopt best practices and safety training to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and severe morbidity across the country – and save mothers’ lives. We know this model works. We have already seen important improvements in maternal health. Already, 23 states are part of the AIM initiative but our goal is to reach all 50,” said Dr. Hal Lawrence, MD, executive vice president and CEO, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “We know that better care for both women’s physical and mental health after giving birth can help save lives. Every new family should have a comprehensive care plan and a care team that supports the mother’s strengths and addresses her multiple, intersecting needs. By extending Medicaid coverage for postpartum women up to a year, we can actualize the ‘fourth trimester’ for underserved new mothers.”