Marshall and Senate Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Legislation To Prevent Maternal Deaths, Improve Health Services And Outcomes For Mothers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., alongside Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced the Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation would support states in preserving maternal health throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes and finding solutions to enhance health care quality and outcomes for mothers. 

“Throughout my career as an OB/GYN, I am proud to have delivered thousands of babies into the arms of healthy mothers, but at times, there are circumstances beyond our control that are not fully understood,” Senator Marshall said. “Thanks to our original 2018 law, we were able to identify several gaps in maternal deaths before, during, and after delivery. Reauthorizing the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act will continue federal and state efforts to prevent causes of maternal mortality. Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation will also provide access to resources to improve best practices for treating at-risk expecting mothers.”

“I was proud to work with colleagues in both chambers of Congress to pass the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018, which established this framework to reduce preventable deaths and to work towards every mom having a safe and healthy pregnancy. The bipartisan legislation we are introducing today will continue these efforts and both identify and provide best practices to help address our nation’s maternal mortality crisis. Programs that support our mothers and young families are essential to the health and well-being of our nation, and I will continue to put solutions forward that provide the support they need,” Senator Capito said.

“Maternal health is a serious issue in North Carolina and across the country with an alarming rise in pregnancy-related deaths,” Senator Tillis said. “We must work to improve maternal health outcomes and support mothers throughout pregnancy and afterwards, and I am proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation that will address disparities and improve outcomes for mothers.”

“My home state of Georgia recently released a study finding 89% of maternal deaths over a recent three-year period were preventable,” Senator Warnock said. “This critical data collection and analysis was possible because of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Senator Capito to reauthorize these critical programs to collect and analyze data and establish strategies for prevention. The most tender moments of one’s life shouldn’t also be the most painful—the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among wealthy countries, and Georgia has nearly twice the national maternal mortality rate. Reauthorizing these data collection programs is an important piece of the puzzle, but we have much more work to do end this crisis.” 

“Our country is facing a maternal mortality crisis that demands urgent action,” Senator Booker said. “We have a responsibility to improve health outcomes for all people, especially Black and Indigenous women who are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Accurate data collection is crucial for preventing maternal deaths, eliminating inequities, and informing future policy decisions and Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) are leading this effort. This bill reaffirms the commitment that Congress has made to investing in MMRC’s. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill that will help address our nation’s maternal mortality crisis and save lives.”

“America’s increasing maternal mortality rate is a national emergency. I do not think it’s radical to believe that everyone should be able to access high-quality health care before, during, and after pregnancy,” Senator Smith said. “We need to identify the root causes of this crisis so we can tackle the problem head on. This bipartisan legislation will support critical programs that collect and analyze data in order to find solutions to help ensure that mothers are able to safely give birth.”

“As the United States continues to experience the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, Congress needs to address this crisis through legislation that protects our nation’s mothers and babies. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023 ensures we’re able to invest and support state Maternal Mortality Review Committees to examine pregnancy-related deaths. It would also disseminate best practices to health care providers including hospitals, perinatal quality collaboratives, among others, on ways to prevent maternal deaths and illness. March of Dimes applauds the leadership of Senators Warnock and Capito on this issue and we look forward to working with Congress to ensure the bill’s swift passage.” Stacey Y. Brayboy, March of Dimes Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, said.

“This important bipartisan legislation will support continued state efforts toward eradicating preventable maternal death and improving maternal and infant health in the United States. It will accelerate progress toward ensuring that every state has a high-functioning process for identifying the causes of maternal mortality like preeclampsia, and translating recommendations made by maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs) to meaningful action.” Eleni Tsigas, Preeclampsia Foundation Chief Executive Officer, said.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly endorsed the bipartisan Preventing Maternal Deaths Act in years past and is pleased to now support its reauthorization,” ACOG President Verda J. Hicks, MD, FACOG, said. “This bill will ensure continued support for the critically important work of state maternal mortality review committees, which are vital to our ability to address the rising rates of maternal mortality in the United States which have, tragically, increased in the last few years. Maternal mortality review committees play an essential role in improving maternal health outcomes across the country because they have access to the most comprehensive information to assess both the medical and nonmedical causes of maternal deaths. Understanding how and why maternal deaths occur is the only way to prevent them. ACOG thanks Senators Capito, Warnock, Marshall, Smith, Booker and Tillis for advancing this bill and reaffirming how important it is to continue to support the nationwide effort to improve maternal health care.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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