04.14.21

Senator Baldwin Supports Senate Resolution Recognizing Black Maternal Health Week

Resolution raises national awareness of the state of Black maternal health in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has cosponsored a Senate Resolution recognizing Black Maternal Health Week, “to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the United States and the importance of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women and birthing persons.”

Black Maternal Health Week is observed from April 11 through April 17. A copy of the resolution can be viewed here.

“Maternal and infant mortality rates are tragically high in Wisconsin, and they are even higher in the Black community. We need to do more to raise awareness about this crisis and do more to improve Black maternal health,” said Senator Baldwin. “I believe we need to comprehensively address every dimension of the Black maternal health crisis and that is why I am proud to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus legislation we introduced earlier this year.” 

The Black Maternal Health Week legislation was introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).  

“As it stands, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed nations, a crisis that puts Black birthing people especially at risk,” said Senator Booker. “By taking meaningful steps to address the disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, we can save lives. That is why I am incredibly proud to be working alongside Representatives Alma Adams and Lauren Underwood in introducing the 2021 Black Maternal Health Week resolution recognizing the week of April 11 to April 17 as Black Maternal Health Week and compelling us to act to confront this crisis that is killing American mothers.”

“Our yearly Black Maternal Health Week resolution says, unequivocally, that Black Moms matter,” said Congresswoman Adams, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen all too clearly the racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Black Americans were one of the hardest hit communities during this pandemic, and Black and Hispanic mothers accounted for a majority of COVID-19 cases among pregnant women in the United States. That is why it is so important for us to raise awareness of Black Maternal Health Week and the maternal mortality and morbidity epidemic Black mothers face, and urge our Congressional and state leaders to take action on one of the greatest public health crises of our time.”

“I am proud to join Congresswoman Adams, Senator Booker, and Black Maternal Health Caucus leaders to mark the beginning of Black Maternal Health Week 2021. I am grateful for the leadership of Angela Doyinsola Aina and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) for their vision to establish Black Maternal Health Week for the first time four years ago. Since then, we’ve made great progress together on behalf of Black mothers across the United States. I look forward to working with BMMA, my colleagues in the Black Maternal Health Caucus, and Black maternal health champions across the country to save lives, end disparities, and achieve true equity and justice for all,” said Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14). 

Co-founding Executive Director of Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Angela Doyinsola Aina, said, “We are so excited to have the support of Representative Adams, Representative Underwood, and Senator Booker for the introduction of this year’s Black Maternal Health Week Resolution. Since 2018, each year this resolution helps to grow awareness of the experience Black birthing people face before, during, and after birth. The staggering statistics of maternal mortality and morbidity, of which Black women experience among the highest in the nation are still the reality. During this week, we take time to remember the Black women lost due to pregnancy-related and associated complications, yet also uplift the leaders and Black-led organizations working to change future outcomes for Black Mamas and their babies.”

The resolution is endorsed by over 120 organizations, including Black Mamas Matter Alliance, National Birth Equity Collaborative, Center for Reproductive Rights, March of Dimes, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Public Health Association, National Urban League, and Ancient Song Doula Services. You can find the full list of endorsing organizations here.

In February, Senator Baldwin cosponsored the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. The legislation makes investments in social determinants of health, community-based organizations, the growth and diversification of the perinatal workforce, data collection and quality measure improvements, digital tools like telehealth, and innovative payment models. In addition to direct efforts to improve Black maternal health outcomes, the Momnibus focuses on high-risk populations, including women veterans, incarcerated women, and Native Americans. The legislation includes Senator Baldwin’s Perinatal Workforce Actwhich establishes grant programs to increase the number of maternity care providers and non-clinical perinatal health workers who offer culturally congruent support to women throughout their pregnancies, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period.