February 08, 2021

Van Hollen, Booker, Unveil Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to Address America's Maternal Health Crisis

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act includes a series of 12 bills to save moms’ lives and end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Representative Alma Adams (D-NC), and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, unveiled the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 – historic legislation to save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, and achieve maternal health justice for Black women and all women and birthing people of color.  

The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation and the Black Maternal Health Momnibus of 2020 with 12 bills to comprehensively address?the drivers of the maternal health crisis.?The Momnibus makes critical investments in addressing social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, and improving in data collection processes. The?Momnibus also?includes new legislation to address the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change on maternal and infant health.  

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and the only rate that is rising. The maternal mortality rate is significantly higher among Black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.  Other birthing people of color, including Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, also suffer from disproportionately high rates of adverse maternal health outcomes. 

A one-page summary of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, including a list of the 80 original cosponsors in the House of Representatives, can be found here, and additional information about the individual bills in the Momnibus can be found on the Black Maternal Health Caucus website.

A list of the 191 organizations endorsing the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act can be found here.

Quotes in support of the Momnibus can be found here.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is composed of twelve individual bills sponsored by Black Maternal Health Caucus Members. The legislation will:  

  1. Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.  
  2. Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.  
  3. Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and support VA maternity care coordination programs.  
  4. Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives culturally congruent maternity care and support.  
  5. Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.  
  6. Support moms with maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.  
  7. Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.  
  8. Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.  
  9. Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.  
  10. Invest in federal programs to address the unique risks for and effects of COVID-19 during and after pregnancy and to advance respectful maternity care in future public health emergencies.  
  11. Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate change-related risks for moms and babies.  
  12. Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.  

The Senate co-sponsors of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act are: Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Tina Smith (D-MN).