Peters Cosponsors Momnibus Bill to Address Black Maternal Health Crisis, Recognizes Black Maternal Health Week

DETROIT, MI — As we mark Black Maternal Health Week, which begins Saturday April 11, U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) announced he cosponsored legislation to address the maternal health crisis disproportionately impacting African American communities across the nation. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020 would fill gaps in existing maternal health legislation by authorizing investments in social determinants of health, additional data collection, community-based organizations, the perinatal workforce, telehealth operations and innovative healthcare payment models. The legislation also focuses on other high-risk populations in Michigan and throughout the country, including returning servicewomen, incarcerated women and Native Americans. The bicameral legislation was introduced by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (CA), U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Alma Adams (NC-12) and the members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

“Every new mother in Michigan and across the country seeking medical attention in order to give birth should expect quality, affordable health care,” said Senator Peters. “It is unconscionable that African American women and their newborns have been much more likely to experience preventable health complications – and even pass away – than other patients. Addressing this gap in health care has only been made more urgent by the disproportionate impact the Coronavirus has had on African American communities, particularly in Michigan. This divide in care has too often led to unnecessary suffering, and I will work to advance and enact this commonsense legislation.”

This legislation aims to decrease America’s rising maternal mortality rates, which are the worst figures in the developed world and the only nation of that classification that is currently experiencing rising cases. This mortality rate is significantly higher among black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. African-American women also experience higher rates of maternal complications and infant mortality. They are twice as likely to lose an infant to premature death, and these disparities have not improved for more than 30 years.

A brief summary of the legislation can be found here.