‘A Major Step Forward for Women’s Health;’ Moms Leaders Applaud New Laws in New Jersey that Aim to Reduce Maternal Mortality in the State
“New Jersey took a vitally important step to protect women’s health and lives on Wednesday when Gov. Murphy signed into law four measures designed to reduce maternal mortality and pregnancy complications in the state. These laws will help save moms. They are a major step forward for women’s health and one that is badly needed, since New Jersey ranks 45th out of the 50 states in maternal death rates and Black women in New Jersey are five times more likely to die due to maternal health-related causes than white women, which is even higher than the national average.
“New Jersey’s new laws provide Medicaid coverage for doula care; establish a perinatal episode-of-care pilot program in Medicaid; provide health benefits coverage for certain non-medically indicated early elective deliveries under the state’s Medicaid program, the State Health Benefit Program and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program; and codify current practice regarding completion of a Perinatal Risk Assessment form by certain Medicaid health care providers.
“MomsRising was so proud to work with many organizations led by women of color to convince state legislators to pass these bills. We applaud New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy for making it a priority to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and eliminate racial disparities in the state through her #NurtureNJ campaign.
“New Jersey is now leading the way in addressing the scourge of maternal mortality in this country, but there is more work to do. Every year in the United States, 700 - 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 suffer severe complications. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, independent of age, parity or education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of maternal deaths in this country are preventable. And, according to the World Health Organization, we are the only industrialized nation in which maternal deaths are rising, not falling. It’s costing Black women their lives. New Jersey is now leading the way to find solutions. Congress and other states must act as well.”