02.10.21

Peters, Stabenow Introduce Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to Address America’s Maternal Health Crisis

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act includes a series of 12 bills to save moms’ lives and end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) joined 15 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. This historic legislation will save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and achieve maternal health justice for women of color. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and the only rate that is rising. Michigan has a rate of 16.4 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation and the Black Maternal Health Momnibus of 2020 with 12 bills to comprehensively address?the drivers of the maternal health crisis.?The Momnibus makes critical investments in addressing social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, and improving data collection processes. The?Momnibus also?includes new legislation to address the impacts of COVID-19 on maternal and infant health. 

“No new mother seeking medical attention in order to give birth should ever be denied access to quality health care,” said Senator Peters. “It is unconscionable that African American women and their newborns are much more likely to experience preventable health complications – and even pass away – than other patients. This maternal health crisis has existed for far too long – and this pandemic has only shined a greater light on the need to address it. It is past time that we close this resource gap and make commonsense investments to save women’s lives, and that’s why I’m proud to help introduce this bill.”

“As one of the wealthiest countries with some of the best health care in the world, the high rate of maternal and infant mortality in the United States is a complete travesty,” said Senator Stabenow. “What makes these rates even more outrageous is that these deaths are preventable. This legislation is an important step forward in addressing these unacceptable disparities in maternal health care for communities of color.” 

The maternal mortality rate in the United States is significantly higher among Black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women also suffer from disproportionately high rates of adverse maternal health outcomes.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is composed of multiple bills sponsored by Black Maternal Health Caucus Members. The legislation will:  

  • Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.  
  • Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.  
  • Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and support VA maternity care coordination programs.  
  • Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives culturally congruent maternity care and support.  
  • Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.  
  • Support moms with maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.  
  • Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.  
  • Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.  
  • Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.  
  • Invest in federal programs to address the unique risks for and effects of COVID-19 during and after pregnancy and to advance respectful maternity care in future public health emergencies.  
  • Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.  

The Momnibus is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

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