Rep. Scanlon Joins Reps. Adams, Underwood & Sen. Booker in Support of Black Maternal Health Week

Black Maternal Health Week (April 11–17) raises national awareness of the state of Black maternal health in the United States

Chester, PA — Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) has joined Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), over 47 members of Congress, and over 120 endorsing organizations in support of a resolution recognizing Black Maternal Health Week, “to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the United States and the importance of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women and birthing persons.” Black Maternal Health Week is observed from April 11 through April 17.

A copy of the resolution is available here.

Additionally, an advocacy kit for interested parties is available here.

“As the wealthiest country on Earth, it is outrageous that the United States’ maternal mortality rate is exponentially higher than any other developed country. And Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women — a glaring disparity that hasn’t improved in decades,” said Congresswoman Scanlon. “This disturbing trend demands urgent, life-saving solutions. That’s why I am a proud co-sponsor of the Momnibus, which takes deliberate action to improve health outcomes and save our moms. I am also proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Black Maternal Health Week Resolution recognizing April 11–17 as Black Maternal Health Week. It is critical we continue to bring national attention to the maternal health crisis in the Black community. We need everyone to be a part of the solution — our moms are counting on us.”

“Our yearly Black Maternal Health Week resolution says, unequivocally, that Black Moms matter,” said Congresswoman Adams, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen all too clearly the racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Black Americans were one of the hardest hit communities during this pandemic, and Black and Hispanic mothers accounted for a majority of COVID-19 cases among pregnant women in the United States. That is why it is so important for us to raise awareness of Black Maternal Health Week and the maternal mortality and morbidity epidemic Black mothers face, and urge our Congressional and state leaders to take action on one of the greatest public health crises of our time.”

“As it stands, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of all developed nations, a crisis that puts Black birthing people especially at risk,” said Senator Booker. “By taking meaningful steps to address the disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, we can save lives. That is why I am incredibly proud to be working alongside Representatives Alma Adams and Lauren Underwood in introducing the 2021 Black Maternal Health Week resolution recognizing the week of April 11 to April 17 as Black Maternal Health Week and compelling us to act to confront this crisis that is killing American mothers.”

“I am proud to join Congresswoman Adams, Senator Booker, and Black Maternal Health Caucus leaders to mark the beginning of Black Maternal Health Week 2021. Since the first Black Maternal Health Week four years ago, we’ve made great progress together on behalf of Black mothers across the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Black Maternal Health Caucus and Black maternal health champions across the country to save lives, end disparities, and achieve true equity and justice for all,” said Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus.

The resolution is endorsed by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, National Birth Equity Collaborative, the Center for Reproductive Rights, National Medical Association, March of Dimes, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, MomsRising, American Public Health Association, Mamatoto Village, 1,000 Days, Ancient Song Doula Services, Lamaze International, National Urban League, National WIC Association, and more than 120 other organizations listed here.

Co-founding Executive Director of Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Angela Doyinsola Aina, said, “We are so excited to have the support of Representative Adams, Representative Underwood, and Senator Booker for the introduction of this year’s Black Maternal Health Week Resolution. Since 2018, each year this resolution helps to grow awareness of the experience Black birthing people face before, during, and after birth. The staggering statistics of maternal mortality and morbidity, of which Black women experience among the highest in the nation are still the reality. During this week, we take time to remember the Black women lost due to pregnancy-related and associated complications, yet also uplift the leaders and Black-led organizations working to change future outcomes for Black Mamas and their babies.”

“This year’s Black Maternal Health Week resolution is expansive and game-changing — a manifesto outlining the multiple and intersecting factors that impact the ability of Black women to birth safely and to do so with dignity and respect,” said Dr. Jamila Taylor, director of health care reform and senior fellow at the think tank The Century Foundation. “Black Maternal Health Week is a time to pause and not only acknowledge the plight of Black mothers and birthing people, but also to reflect on meaningful solutions and hold space for Black women leaders who are charting the course for the way forward. Despite significant challenges, I remain hopeful for the day that Black women aren’t needlessly dying of preventable pregnancy-related causes, and our communities are able to be safe and thrive.”

As part of Black Maternal Health Week, Rep. Scanlon was joined by Rep. Underwood, co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, on Monday, April 12 for a discussion on Black maternal health and the Momnibus Act. Their conversation can be viewed here.

Mary Gay Scanlon currently serves a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.

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