Ahead of Mother’s Day, Underwood Pushes Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in House Oversight Committee Hearing

May 7, 2021
Press Release
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and the only rate that is rising

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) advocated for the passage of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation with twelve bills that include bipartisan policies to save lives, end racial and ethnic disparities, and achieve true equity and justice for all mothers and birthing people. During her testimony, Underwood urged Congress to include the Momnibus in the upcoming consideration of the American Families Plan. Underwood highlighted the importance of the legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has intensified the need to make robust investments in high-quality health care. 

“At the heart of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is the principle that in America, every family has a right to thrive, a principle that begins with a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth. To realize this promise for every mother, the Momnibus includes investments in community-based organizations, funding to grow and diversify the perinatal workforce, data collection improvements, expanded access to maternal mental health care, and programs to address social determinants of health like housing, nutrition, and environmental risks. These are necessary investments that will save lives and support families. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act included in the American Families Plan and signed into law,” said Rep. Underwood.  

A full video of Underwood’s testimony can be found here.

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 American, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people, also suffer from disproportionately high rates of adverse maternal health outcomes. 

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, led by Underwood, was reintroduced in February with Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation with 12 bills to comprehensively address the clinical and non-clinical drivers of the maternal health crisis in the United States. The Momnibus makes critical investments in addressing social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, and improving data collection processes. The Momnibus also includes new legislation to address the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change on maternal and infant health outcomes.