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. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and a bicameral group of lawmakers in unveiling the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. This historic legislation would save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and achieve maternal health justice for Black women and all women and birthing people of color.
The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation 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 in data collection processes. The Momnibus also includes new legislation to address the impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and climate change on maternal and infant health.
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and the only rate that is rising. The maternal 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. Other birthing people of color, including Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, also suffer from disproportionately high rates of adverse maternal health outcomes.
“We need to tackle the shameful maternal mortality rate in this country and its especially devastating impact on Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color,” said Bennet. “Our legislation will help address the harmful racial disparities in our health care system that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19. This crisis is urgent, and we must ensure that every woman has access to the necessary, comprehensive care they deserve.”
“As the rest of the world works to improve maternal health outcomes, skyrocketing maternal mortality rates here in the United States are precipitating a public health crisis -- one that puts mothers of color especially at risk," said Booker. “We simply cannot continue to accept this alarming status quo. This is why I am proud introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act with Representatives Underwood and Adams that will save moms’ lives and improve health outcomes for all birthing people.”
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is composed of twelve individual bills. 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;
- Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate change-related risks for moms and babies;
- Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.
Last March, Bennet joined former U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and their colleagues in introducing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020 to address America’s maternal health crisis.
In addition to Bennet and Booker, this legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
A one-page summary of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, including a list of the 80 original cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, is available HERE. A list of the 191 organizations endorsing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is available HERE. A list of statements in support of the Momnibus is available HERE.