July 30, 2020

Van Hollen, Harris Introduce Legislation to Support Uterine Fibroids Research and Education

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Thursday introduced the Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act, legislation to initiate crucial research and education in relation to uterine fibroids and ensure women get the information and care they need. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-11) introduced this legislation in the House of Representatives.

Uterine fibroids affect an estimated 26 million women between the ages of 15 and 50, across all racial backgrounds and socioeconomic levels in the United States. While this issue affects women across all racial backgrounds, Black women develop uterine fibroids earlier, have larger and a greater number of fibroids, and are three times more likely than white women to be hospitalized for uterine fibroids. Also, more than 80% of Black women and about 70% of white women develop fibroids by the time they reach menopause. Further, they are the leading cause for hysterectomy: 22% of Black women and 7% of white women with uterine fibroids have hysterectomies as a result of the condition.

Despite being the most common gynecological condition, there is a lack of awareness and prioritization about uterine fibroids as an important health issue. Some women who experience uterine fibroids have no symptoms; however, those that do experience: severe pelvic pain, iron-deficiency, anemia, miscarriages, infertility, and heavy bleeding. Building awareness around uterine fibroids is not only a health equity issue, but an economic imperative. Uterine fibroids cost our health care system an estimated $9.4 billion annually.

The Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act would:

  • Provide $30 million annually for FY21-FY25 to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand research on uterine fibroids.
  • Direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand the Chronic Conditions Warehouse research database to include data on the services provided to women who experience symptoms of uterine fibroids.
  • Create a uterine fibroids public education program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to disseminate information on the incidence and prevalence of uterine fibroids among women—including the elevated risk for women of color—and the available treatment options.
  • Direct the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in consultation with medical societies, to develop and disseminate information regarding uterine fibroids to health care providers, including the elevated risk for women of color to develop uterine fibroids and the available treatment options.

This bill is supported by: Black Women’s Health Imperative, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Sexual Health Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, CARE About Fibroids, HealthyWomen, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, National Black Nurses Association, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, National Organization of Black Elected Women (NOBEL Women), Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, Society for Women’s Health Research, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), The Fibroid Foundation, and The White Dress Project.

The Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act can be read HERE.