Sen. Marshall Speaks on Maternal Health Bill, Passed Unanimously by HELP Committee

(Washington, D.C., May 27, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. spoke about the importance of improving maternal health outcomes during a U.S. Senate HELP Committee Executive Session. Senator Marshall’s remarks followed the committee vote of the bipartisan Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, which Senator Marshall teamed up with Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) to introduce earlier this week.

Senator Marshall said in part, “When people ask me why I joined Congress, why I came to the Senate, this would be one of the issues that I say, ‘Well, this is why I came here.’ That I lived this for the last 30 years of my life and now I have the opportunity to make things better… I reach across the aisle and say thank you to all my colleagues across the aisle for your work and your help on something that’s so important. I think back to my career and in my residency program we delivered 5,000 babies a year… we never lost a mom. In my private practice, another 5,000 babies and we never lost a mom.”

He also added, “So I was shocked when I came to Congress… the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in developed nations… And I brag about our record, but I humbly tell you I had great nurses. I had great doctors around me…We passed legislation, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, to find out why people are dying… This is just the start, not the end. And we’ll keep working in this committee to help bring lower mortality for women across the United States.”

You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s complete remarks.

In addition to the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, the Senate HELP Committee passed five bipartisan bills aimed at improving maternal and infant care, and providing mental health support for health care professionals. Senator Marshall supported and cosponsored several of these bills.


In the U.S., mothers are dying at higher rates than other high-income countries – and the rate is rising. From 2000 to 2014, the U.S.’s maternal mortality ratio increased by 26.6%, from 18.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000, to 23.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014. Annually, there are an estimated 700 pregnancy related deaths occur in the U.S., and 60% of these are considered preventable. Additionally, for every maternal death, 50-100 women experience severe maternal morbidity. Maternal mortality is also higher in racial and ethnic populations.

Health experts caution that the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the maternal mortality crisis. According to the CDC, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people, and may be more likely to require hospitalization, intensive care, and ventilation.

The Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would:

  • Authorize a grant program for innovations in reducing maternal mortality including developing evidence based best practices and improving maternal mortality review committee data;
  • Authorize a grant program to reduce ethnic and racial disparities for health care providers;
  • Create a study on best practices for teaching within health professional training programs to reduce and prevent discrimination;
  • Expand the ability of the CDC to award grants for perinatal quality collaboratives; and
  • Authorize a grant program for developing integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women and infants, with grants and reporting of study outcomes.

The bill is endorsed by the following entities and organizations: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 1,000 Days; 2020 Mom; AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth &Families; American College of Nurse-Midwives; American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Hospital Association, American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA); American Nurses Association; American Psychiatric Association; American Public Health Association; America’s Essential Hospitals; Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation; Anthem, Inc.; APS Foundation of America, Inc; Association of American Medical Colleges; Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs; Association of Public Health Laboratories; Babyscripts; Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Catholic Health Association of the United States; Every Mother Counts; First Focus Campaign for Children; Futures Without Violence; Glo Preemies; Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation; Johnson & Johnson; March of Dimes; March for Moms; Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance; Mom Congress; MomsRising; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health; National Black Women’s HIV/AIDS Network; National Medical Association; National WIC Association; Nurse-Family Partnership; PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association; The PPROM Foundation; Preeclampsia Foundation; PreemieWorld, LLC; Sepsis Alliance; Shades Of Blue Project; Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine; Society for Women’s Health Research; The Joint Commission; Black Women’s Health Imperative; and the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Read the bill text for the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act HERE.