It's a concern for expecting mothers that is all too common: Dying from complications of pregnancy. Now, lawmakers are calling on the federal government to step in.
According to lawmakers, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths. Here in New York, the story is the same.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appeared in Syracuse on Friday and called for just under $180 million in federal funding to help all regions lower the rates. She said the funding would be used to implement evidence-based health care standards for all women, no matter their race or ethnicity.
She’s also pushing to pass the Moms Matter Act, which would provide mental health support to new moms that historically face systemic barriers to accessing services.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2020 to 2021, the maternal death rate for Black women was more than twice the national average.
The leading cause of the deaths was maternal mental health conditions, including substance abuse disorder and suicide. Seventy-five percent of Black women with these conditions go untreated.
“We're prepared," said Village Birth International Co-Director Asteir Bey. "People aren't prepared. The systems aren't prepared. So we need policy and legislation that wraps around us in a way that shows loving care and compassion for our generations for being left out of optimum health care."
Under Gillibrand’s plan, $164 million would go to the Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Program. It will help the CDC to provide assistance to state Maternal Mortality Review Committees in data collection.
Fifteen million dollars would also go to the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, a program that works with states and hospital systems to implement toolkits to improve maternal outcomes.