#BlackMamasMatter: House Members Lauren Underwood & Alma Adams Launch The First Black Maternal Health Care Caucus

April 9, 2019  |  

Pregnant African American woman holding her stomach in hospital

Source: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty

Freshman congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) has joined forces with respected congressional leader Alma Adams (D-NC) to eradicate the disproportionate numbers of Black women who have died from pregnancy-related complications.

It is one of the largest racial health disparities in the nation and is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Both Underwood and Adams intend to not only spread awareness, but pass sweeping legislation to combat the health crisis.

The representatives formally launched the initiative on Tuesday morning with the support of over 30 Democratic leaders in congress, POLITICO reports.

Underwood, a registered nurse who was just recently elected in the fall as the youngest Black woman to be elected to congress, announced the news on Twitter to her thousands of followers, citing a staggering statistic of the ways in which Black women are most at a health risk to either lose their life or suffer the loss of a child during and/or directly after pregnancy.

“Our caucus will elevate black maternal health as a national priority and explore and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally competent policies and best practices for improving black maternal health,” Underwood said at a press conference.

Back women are four times more than likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts, according to the Center for Disease Control. And while the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, we have the highest number of a higher rate of maternal deaths than any other developed country, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. According to the CDC, 60 percent of those deaths can be prevented.

Heightening awareness around the issue has been one of the main tenants of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, who is also leading the caucus along with the co-founding lawmakers.

The alliance will work in conjunction with congress to name racism as the overarching reason for the health crisis, center Black-led organizations when forming legislation, eliminate abuse and mistreatment during health care provider visits, and provide financial access to adequate health care.

“Launching the caucus sends a message that we are very concerned about the disparity as it relates to maternal health and African-American women,” said Rep. Adams in an interview with WTOC. “That African-American women and giving birth and being successful at giving birth and having healthy children is an important issue for this congress and for our country.”

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