Underwood’s Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Maternal Health Care for Veterans Advances in the House of Representatives

May 4, 2021
Press Release
The Protecting Moms Who Served Act is the first bill in Underwood's Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to advance out of a Committee

WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s (IL-14) bipartisan legislation to improve maternal health care for veterans advanced in the House of Representatives. The Protecting Moms Who Served Act (H.R. 958), introduced with Chairwoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) and Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), seeks to eliminate maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities among veterans. The Protecting Moms Who Served Act is the first bill in the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. 959) to advance out of a Committee; the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approved it with strong bipartisan support. The legislation now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.  

 "I am delighted that the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is advancing my Protecting Moms Who Served Act, a bipartisan bill that seeks to end racial disparities and prevent adverse maternal health outcomes among veterans. I thank my colleagues who joined me to introduce this bill: Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Julia Brownley and Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Brian Fitzpatrick, and I look forward to working with them to get it signed into law," said Underwood. "The U.S. suffers unacceptable rates of preventable maternal mortality and veterans are uniquely at-risk; we must ensure that the VA is providing the highest quality maternal health care and support to moms who served." 

A video of Underwood's remarks can be found here.

 The Protecting Moms Who Served Act would codify and strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs maternity care coordination programs to ensure veterans receive the high-quality maternal health care and support they have earned. Additionally, the bill would commission the first-ever comprehensive study of the scope of America's maternal health crisis among women veterans, with a particular focus on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes. 

 The Black Maternal Health Momnibus 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 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. 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).