Underwood Continues Work to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes for Veterans

April 16, 2021
Press Release
Underwood’s Protecting Moms Who Served Act is the first bill in the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to be considered in a Committee hearing

Bipartisan legislation supported by Veterans Service Organizations including the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, and Minority Veterans of America

WASHINGTON—This week, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), continued her work to improve maternal health outcomes for veterans. In a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Health Subcommittee hearing, Underwood highlighted how our nation’s maternal health crisis impacts veterans and underscored the need to ensure veterans have access to world-class maternity care. Underwood’s bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Served Act would help veterans by comprehensively studying the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and by codifying and strengthening the VA’s maternity care coordination programs. Underwood questioned Dr. Amanda Johnson, Director of Reproductive Health at the Veterans Health Administration, on the VA’s maternity care programs. Dr. Johnson shared information about how the programs that would be codified in Underwood’s legislation support pregnant veterans with mental health conditions and ensure veterans have access to robust social services during and after their pregnancies. The three Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) testifying at the hearing, the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, and Minority Veterans of America, expressed strong support for the Protecting Moms Who Served Act. 

“With unacceptable maternal mortality rates for all U.S. mothers, and unique risks for veterans, we must ensure that the VA is providing the highest quality maternal health care and support to moms who served,” said Underwood. “My bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Served Act would codify the programs in that VHA Directive, which include new provisions to offer screenings and treatments to pregnant veterans with mental health conditions, as well as measures to strengthen community partnerships with groups that support new moms.” 

Video of Underwood’s hearing remarks can be found here.  

The Protecting Moms Who Served Act is a part of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act that Underwood recently reintroduced in Congress 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 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 bipartisan Senate version of the Protecting Moms Who Served Act is led by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).