Introduced in the House by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jamie Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and in the Senate by Senators Ben Ray-Lujan (D-NM) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on May 19, 2021, H.R. 3352 and S. 1697 is an integral piece of the policy puzzle that seeks to improve our nation’s shameful maternal health system. Additional information/text is available here.
Despite spending more than any other country for maternity care, the US ranks behind almost all other developed countries in childbirth outcomes for both mothers and babies. According to the CDC, each year about 700 women die because of pregnancy or delivery complications, and 60% of these losses are preventable. The racial and geographic disparities in these statistics are appalling, and maternal mortality is just the tip of the iceberg. More than 50,000 women experience severe complications of pregnancy that adversely impact their health. Our infant mortality rates are higher than 33 other countries with similar wealth, and we have made some of the slowest progress in the world in reducing stillbirth rates. Simultaneously, the U.S. is facing a growing shortage of trained maternity care providers, and the March of Dimes reports that more than 5 million women in the US currently live in a “maternity care desert,” an area where hospitals do not offer obstetric care, birthing services or specialized providers.
Decades of research have shown that midwives provide safe, satisfying and cost-effective care, but compared to other countries they are vastly underused as providers. The Midwives for MOMS Act is designed to expand educational opportunities for midwives by establishing two new funding streams for midwifery education: one in the Title VII Health Professions Training Programs, and one in the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs. Additionally, the bill will address the significant lack of diversity in the maternity care workforce by prioritizing students from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.
ACNM has provided an electronic template letter that will be sent directly to your Representative's and Senator's office. Let’s all do our part! Take action today to help grow capacity within and help diversify our nation’s midwifery workforce.
Please contact Amy Kohl, ACNM's Director of Advocacy & Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.