Bipartisan bill to prevent maternal deaths passes U.S. House

Reps. Herrera Beutler, DeGette’s bill marks the strongest step Congress has taken to date to reverse the growing maternal mortality rate in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Diana DeGette’s (D-CO) bipartisan bill to prevent maternal deaths passed the U.S. House by unanimous voice vote today.

H.R.1318, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, would establish and support state Maternal Mortality Review Committees to review every pregnancy-related or pregnancy-associated death, and based on those findings, develop recommendations for how to prevent future mothers’ deaths.

“Today marks an important day in addressing our country’s maternal mortality crisis, as this is the strongest step Congress has taken to date to reverse it. By providing states with resources to investigate every maternal death, we can begin to tackle this troubling trend and take appropriate steps to prevent such tragedies in the future. As moms and lawmakers, this is personal to us, and it was an honor to join with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to lead this life-saving measure successfully through the House. We must improve our understanding of why mothers are dying in pregnancy, during childbirth and post-partum so we can then unleash every possible resource to protect women in this critical season of life. We hope the Senate will take swift action to pass this critical legislation so we can send it to the President’s desk,” said U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Diana DeGette.

“AMCHP thanks Rep. Herrera Beutler and Rep. DeGette for their leadership in introducing the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act and being tireless advocates for its passage into law. Once all states have adequate resources to expertly review maternal deaths, we can achieve greater success in both honoring the lives of mothers lost and equipping our nation to prevent future deaths during pregnancy or in the year following childbirth,” said Jonathan Webb, CEO, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP).

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act had 190 cosponsors when it passed the House. There is a companion bill in the U.S. Senate sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Shelly Moore Capito. There’s still time for the Senate to pass this bill and send it to the president’s desk before the end of the year.

The rise of maternal mortality in the U.S.:

  • The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, and the rate continues to rise. Between 700-900 women die in the U.S. every year from pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of maternal deaths are preventable.

Maternal mortality in the news:

·         USA Today: What states aren’t doing to save new mothers’ lives

·         The Hill: Alone among developed nations, the US maternal mortality rate is rising. Here’s how we can fix that

·         NPR: Focus On Infants During Childbirth Leaves U.S. Moms In Danger

·         Washington Examiner: Lawmakers want to solve mysterious maternal deaths

·         St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Editorial: Why are there more maternal deaths in the U.S. than in other advanced nation?

·         The Hill: Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny