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Action Center

Urge Congress to address the maternal health crisis

In the wealthiest nation in the world, moms are dying at the highest rate among developed nations. As dire as the maternal health crisis is for everyone, this epidemic is most severe for Black women, who are dying at three to four times the rate of their white counterparts, regardless of income, education level, or other socioeconomic factors.

The maternal health crisis is both a racial justice and public health issue—Congress must act to protect Black moms in America. Urge your members of Congress to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in the 118th Congress!

Background

At 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, the U.S. has the worst rate of maternal death in the developed world, and is the only developed country with a maternal mortality rate that has been steadily rising for the last three decades.  Black women in the United States die from pregnancy-related causes at three to four times the rate of their white counterparts, regardless of education, income, or other factors.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2023 is a legislative package comprised of 13 different bills to comprehensively address the Black maternal health crisis. This package is an overdue effort to address generations of injustice and ensure race is never a determinant of health outcomes.

The Momnibus was introduced by Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in May of 2023.

Key provisions of the Momnibus include:

  • Making critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition
  • Providing funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity
  • Growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce to ensure every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people they can trust.
  • Improving maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms
  • Investing in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas                              ...and more

Jewish Values

In Judaism, the principle of pikuach nefesh, preserving life, overrides virtually any other religious rule. Our religious canon is full of biblical and rabbinic texts emphasizing the importance of protecting the life of pregnant individuals.

Furthermore, providing health care is not just an obligation of the doctor, but for society as well. It is for this reason that Maimonides listed health care first on his list of the ten most important communal services a city must offer its residents if the city is to be found worthy for a great scholar to live there (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De’ot IV:23). 

The Mombibus is a necessary first step in eliminating health disparities and health inequities plaguing Black women. Urge your members of Congress to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, as well as the individual bills in the Momnibus, today.

For More Information:

For more information on reproductive rights, visit the RAC’s reproductive rights page on our website or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Lillie Heyman at lheyman@rac.org. 

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