The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions unanimously approved legislation today to help combat the rising rate of maternal mortality in the United States. The bipartisan Maternal Health Accountability Act (S. 1112), sponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), would provide funding to states to help establish or expand statewide maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs). MMRCs are the gold standard in maternal mortality surveillance and enable states to comprehensively examine maternal deaths and identify ways to prevent these tragic events in the future. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) leads the House companion legislation, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318), which is pending before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“Maternal mortality review committees enable us to understand why and how women die during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum so that we can most effectively take action to reduce preventable maternal deaths,” said Barbara Laur, Interim CEO of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP). “AMCHP is proud to be a leader in providing assistance to states that are working to establish maternal mortality review committees and to transform these reviews into action. However, without sustained investment and support from the federal government, states will be limited in their ability to move beyond data collection. With federal support, states can act on their findings and coordinate efforts to tackle this problem nationally. I applaud Senators Heitkamp and Capito for introducing this legislation in the Senate as well as Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for their dedication to moving this legislation through their committee.”