Ending Maternal Mortality

Each year in the United States, 700 women die from causes related to pregnancy and an estimated 50,000 experience dangerous complications that could have killed them. While other nations have improved their maternal mortality rates in recent years, the United States’ rate is getting worse. This situation is unacceptable. March of Dimes is working in Washington, DC, and in state houses around the country to enact policies to reverse this troubling trend.

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017 (H.R. 1318)/Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017 (S. 1112)

The first step to preventing maternal deaths is understanding where and why mothers die. The best way to get that data is through state-based maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs), which bring together local experts in maternal and child health to investigate cases of maternal death, identify factors that contributed to the deaths and develop recommendations to prevent future cases. Almost 40 states have MMRCs, but often the data collected is not standardized to enable regional or national analysis or comparisons.

To address this issue, March of Dimes strongly supports H.R. 1318/S. 1112, which will provide grants to states to help establish new MMRCs or improve and standardize those that are already operational. The bill also creates a program to investigate how best to address racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. We are grateful to Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) for sponsoring this important legislation.

On December 11, H.R. 1318 passed the House of Representatives, and the Senate followed suit on December 13. The legislation now awaits the President's signature.

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