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Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Herrera Beutler and Roybal-Allard Secure Maternity Care Victories in U.S. House Approved Appropriations Bill
Today, Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the founding Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care and members of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, celebrated the inclusion of key Maternity Care Caucus priorities in H.R. 7617, the FY 2021 domestic appropriations bill which includes funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. The congresswomen successfully advocated for provisions in this bill to promote maternal, infant, and child health; reduce health disparities and maternal mortality; support low-income and disadvantaged pregnant women and their families; strengthen screening of newborns for heritable disorders in newborns; promote breastfeeding; protect mothers’ mental health; support a skilled and diverse midwifery workforce; and more.
“It’s vital we prioritize the health and safety of moms and their babies across the country as the U.S. continues to see staggering maternal mortality rates, pre-term births, and stillbirths,” Herrera Beutler said. “That’s why I’ve partnered with my Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Roybal-Allard to expand maternal mortality review committees, increase health education and perinatal depression screenings, and expand access to birth centers and midwifery education. Our mission is to ensure our moms and babies receive the life-saving services they need, and I’ll continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve that goal.”
“I am grateful to Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole for supporting these critical investments in maternal and infant health programs in the FY21 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill,” Roybal-Allard said. “As Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chair, I believe it is time for policymakers to prioritize optimal maternal and infant health for all families in the United States. The robust funding choices and directive language in this bill will improve maternity care for all mothers and babies, and will help address pervasive maternal and infant health disparities that disproportionately hurt our minority communities. I am proud to be working with my co-chair Congresswoman Herrera Beutler to raise awareness of the challenges in our maternity care system, and to effectively fund critical programs and initiatives that have been shown to improve the lives and health of mothers and babies in all our communities.”
Key Maternity Care Caucus funding and language priorities in the measure include:
In 2015, the congresswomen co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care to raise awareness about the status of childbirth in this country and the challenges facing America’s maternity care system. The U.S. spends significantly more per capita on childbirth than any other industrialized nation, but continues to rank far behind almost all other developed countries in healthy birth outcomes for both mothers and babies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 700 American women die annually due to pregnancy or delivery complications – and this maternal mortality crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. U.S. infant mortality rates are higher than 33 other similarly wealthy countries, and more than 50,000 American women per year experience severe complications in pregnancy that adversely impact their health. These largely preventable tragedies at birth are most often found in communities of color. In addition, our nation has made some of the slowest progress in the world in reducing stillbirth rates, has unacceptably high rates of preterm births and cesarean sections, and is not adequately diagnosing and treating postpartum depression.