(Ohio) – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is looking to decrease the rates of infant mortality and maternal deaths.
Ohio is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to this issue and the Democratic Senator introduced the MOMMA Act in response. The act is short for Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness. Senator Brown has explained his goal is to reduce America’s rising maternal and infant mortality rates, especially moms and babies of color who are significantly more likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy.
“We already know that Ohio suffers from alarmingly high maternal mortality rates, especially among African American mothers,” explained Brown. “This legislation is important to laying the groundwork that can save the lives of countless mothers and their children; I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to help us pass the bill without delay.”
The press release from Senator Brown’s office indicates the United States is one of only 13 counties in the world where the maternal mortality rate is worse now than it was 25 years ago.
Maternal mortality claims the lives of 700 American moms each year. Officials note 60 percent of these deaths are preventable.
Additionally, 23,000 infants die. Often times, Brown states, this is due to factors that could have been prevented. These statistics are nonbias across geography, education, income, and socioeconomic status.
Ohio is ranked among some of the worst in the nation for African American infant mortality. In 2017, 982 black infants died before their first birthday. And, according to the Ohio Department of Health, while the deaths of white babies dropped in 2017 in Ohio, the death of black babies rose.
A focus on infant and maternal health has been an ongoing focus for Senator Brown. Last year, the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act was signed into law. That law, also introduced by Senator Brown, works to identify areas that should have access to more maternal health care professionals and to also provide incentives for providers practicing in those areas. This makes sure that women have access to timely, high-quality maternity care.
The press release notes the MOMMA’s Act hopes to build on Brown’s work in the past by implementing a five-pronged approach:
- Establishing national obstetric emergency protocols through a federal expert committee.
- Ensuring dissemination of best-shared practices and coordination amongst maternal mortality review committees.
- Standardizing data collection and reporting.
- Improving access to culturally competent care throughout the care continuum.
- Expanding Medicaid coverage to new mom’s entire post-partum period (1 year).
The press release indicates the MOMMA Act has received bi-partisan support in the Senate as well as endorsements from several professional organizations and patient advocacy groups including the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Association of Certified Professional Midwives, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Physicians, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, American Public Health Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Black Women’s Health Imperative, March of Dimes, Families USA, MomsRising, and the National Partnership for Women & Families.