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Maternal mortality is a public health crisis, especially for Black women 

WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood applauds congressional leaders for passing two bipartisan bills this week to improve maternal health care in the United States. Maternal mortality continues to be a public health crisis and women of color are losing their lives at disproportionately high rates. Black women are three to four times more likely than White women to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes, regardless of age, education, and income level. Planned Parenthood thanks Congress for taking up this important issue and looks forward to advancing this work further in the 116th Congress along with leading advocates like the Black Women’s Health ImperativeBlack Mamas Matter Alliance, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which work everyday to provide maternal health education and policy recommendations to close this gap and save lives.    

Statement of Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

The staggering maternal mortality rates in the United States demonstrate that there is a huge unmet need for access to care, but also that women are underserved as a result of women’s health care being singled out, stigmatized, and attacked. Ending this crisis will take the acknowledgment that reproductive health is critical to women’s health, which is critical to family health and community health. Planned Parenthood stands with our partners of other health care providers, community members, advocates, and Congressional leaders to improve women’s health, increase access to providers, and address systemic racism and health disparities. I thank Sens. Baldwin and Murkowski, and Rep. Degette for their leadership and for taking steps to ensure healthy pregnancies, healthy births, and healthy women.

The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), addresses the shortage of maternal health care providers in underserved areas. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018, introduced by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), makes federal support available to state-based maternal mortality review committees. These committees review pregnancy-related and/or pregnancy-associated deaths in the state and make evidence-based recommendations based on these cases to prevent future deaths. Both bills are supported by major medical associations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.