Presidential 2020 hopeful and California Senator Kamala Harris (D) reintroduced The Maternal CARE Act on Capitol Hill Wednesday, which seeks to reduce the number of pregnancy related deaths that disproportionately affects Black mothers.
A Center for Disease Control study study from early May showed that in the United States, 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications each year. However, Black women are three times more likely to die than white women from pregnancy-related causes.
Harris’ legislation is the third effort members of congress have made in the past two months to tackle the subject, following legislation introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the Black Maternal Health Caucus instituted by Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL).
“Black mothers across the country are facing a health crisis that is driven in part by implicit bias in our health care system. We must take action to address this issue, and we must do it with the sense of urgency it deserves,” Harris said in a statement obtained by MadameNoire.
“My Maternal CARE Act will establish implicit bias training throughout the medical profession and help ensure that women—especially Black women—have access to comprehensive, culturally competent care,” she continued.
The bill will provide grant funding to educate and address racial health disparities. The bill would allocate $25 million dollars to address racial bias within the medical field and would also set aside $125 million to help “identify high-risk pregnancies,” and “provide new mothers with the culturally competent care and resources they need.” A third part of the bill would require that medical universities “incorporate bias recognition in clinical skills testing by directing the National Academy of Medicine to study and make recommendations.”
Harris first introduced the legislation in 2018. Companion legislation was introduced to members of the House by Rep. Alma Adams on Wednesday.