Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center

Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.

Reduce maternal deaths and improve health outcomes for mothers
Every year in the United States, 700 to 900 mothers die from complications resulting from pregnancy and childbirth; Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined. The most common preventable complications are postpartum hemorrhage, severe hypertension and venous thromboembolism.

In 2018, Medicaid financed nearly half of all U.S. births; in some states, Medicaid provided coverage for more than 60% of births. The nonpartisan Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) reports that although the Medicaid program plays a critical role in addressing our nation’s maternal mortality crisis, pregnant beneficiaries are more likely to experience higher rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality than pregnant individuals with private insurance.

The bipartisan Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act (S. 408 and H.R. 1350) would:

  • Create a diverse, representative National Advisory Committee on Reducing Maternal Deaths to:
    • Establish best practices for all Medicaid-covered maternal care providers and clinicians to screen, monitor and treat at-risk pregnancies.
    • Generate culturally competent materials to help inform pregnant women of potential risks during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
    • Identify best practices for tracking maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity trends.
  • Report to Congress on potential payment disincentives or regulatory barriers to the transfer of pregnant women between facilities before and during birth, as well as postpartum.

In February 2021, Senators Pat Toomey [R-PA] and Sherrod Brown [D-OH] reintroduced the Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act in the Senate, and Representatives Robin Kelly [D-IL] and Robert Latta [R-OH] reintroduced a corresponding bill in the House of Representatives. Please use our pre-drafted letters to urge your senators and representative to co-sponsor and support S. 408 and H.R. 1350. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.

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