Deaths related to childbirth and pregnancy are rising in the United States
After 40 hours of labor and 6 hours pushing, [my daughter] was in fetal distress and I had to have an emergency c-section. If we hadn't had access to a good doctor, and appropriate care, we both would have died. As it is, she is my miracle, and I am so thankful we are here! Good prenatal care and access to the childbirth center are not optional. We live in the wealthiest country in history, and there is no excuse for moms and babies to die needlessly.” -Carissa, Olympia, WA
With all of the dreadful news coming out of Washington, D.C. these days, people across our nation are hoping that Congress can find areas of common ground to get things done that improve the lives of families.
There is hope! An issue has been gaining bipartisan support, and that is the issue of addressing our nation’s abysmal and rising maternal death rates. Important legislation is currently moving through the U.S. Congress which could help moms like Carissa and decrease the number of deaths and severe complications from childbirth—the Maternal Health Accountability Act and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (S. 1112 and H.R. 1318). [1,2]
Why is this legislation important? The United States holds the worst record for maternal and infant mortality in the developed world, and maternal mortality continues to rise.  This legislation would establish a program to help states review maternal deaths; establish and sustain a maternal mortality review committee; develop a plan for health care provider education to improve maternal care, and improve information collection on maternal deaths to provide public disclosure of information on maternal mortality. 
Deaths related to childbirth and pregnancy are rising in the United States, and are especially high among Black women. A recent study showed that “the impacts of institutional racism and sexism compromise women’s health across time, leading to poorer outcomes for African American women and infants.  Even a well-known celebrity, Serena Williams, wasn’t exempt from this experience. After she gave birth, her health concerns were ignored until she demanded that doctors give her a CT scan, revealing potentially deadly blood clots that could have cost her her life. 
By reviewing the cause of death for each individual case of maternal mortality and providing recommendations for states to address maternal deaths, this legislation will help enable health systems to address the factors leading to the disproportionate deaths of Black mothers and put recommendations in place to begin addressing racial disparities that have been present and unchanged for decades.
This important legislation has received bipartisan support since its introduction and is gaining momentum—the Maternal Health Accountability Act advanced past a key Senate panel vote last week!  But...getting things done in Washington, D.C. has been somewhat...tricky in recent years. We need leadership within both parties to step up to the plate to get this passed because the lives of mothers and their families depend on it!
Legislators listen when their constituents make their voices heard—which is why we need you to weigh in now! We need you to remind members of Congress that maternal health is a priority for their constituents and that supporting this legislation is a great opportunity to show they can move bipartisan legislation forward and save lives!
And please help us spread the word! The more people who sign, the bigger our impact. Forward this message to your friends and family, and post this link on Facebook and Twitter: https://action.momsrising.org/sign/Maternal_Health_Act/?t=8&akid=11014%2E2389209%2EbOdVkD
Together we are a powerful voice for the health of moms.