This New Bill Wants to Help Combat Inequalities in Black Maternal Health

"We simply cannot continue to accept this alarming status quo.”
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Updated November 19, 2021
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The House has passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which includes a bill to help combat inequalities in black maternal health.

The bill, titled the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act—initially introduced last year—was reintroduced in February 2021 by Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, with some new additions.

One of the additions focused on the study that came out last June on the association of air pollution and pregnancy risks. The bill, passed by the House, provides funding to help address the impact of climate change related maternal and infant health risks. It also funds community organizations, as well as governments on the local and state levels, to work to improve the maternal health outcomes for Black moms by establishing training programs on bias, racism and discrimination in maternity health care environments. It also addresses the social elements at play, including access to housing, transportation, child care and nutrition.

The disparities in health care for Black moms are significant and a study found that Black newborns tend to have a higher mortality rate when in the care of white doctors as compared to Black doctors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these disparities are due to unequal access to care and implicit biases in healthcare.

“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,” Sen. Booker said in a press release in February. "We simply cannot continue to accept this alarming status quo.”

The Build Back Better Act will head to the Senate next.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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