Senate passes Capito bill to address rising maternal mortality rates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate recently unanimously passed the Maternal Mortality Accountability Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to help examine and combat the ongoing maternal mortality crisis in the United States.

The bipartisan legislation she introduced with U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) now heads to President Trump to be signed into law.

“Maternal mortality rates have been rising dramatically across the country, and we need to do more to reverse that,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation will help us figure out what is causing this startling trend and how we can better prevent the same situations from happening in the future. I’m so glad that my Senate colleagues also recognize the importance of addressing this issue and passed our legislation with unanimous support. This brings us another step closer to strengthening our efforts to protect these mothers, and I look forward to the president signing it into law.”

Unlike any other industrial country in the world, the maternal death rate in the United States is on the rise. Across the country, maternal mortality rates increased by an alarming 26 percent from 2000 to 2014.

Senator Capito’s bipartisan bill will strengthen on-the-ground resources to combat this growing crisis by expanding maternal mortality review committees that study and address the causes of maternal death cases and work to increase the number of safe and successful pregnancies. While West Virginia has had a Maternal Mortality Review Panel since 2008, such panels or committees currently do not exist in more than 20 states.

“All moms—no matter where they live, no matter what they can or can’t afford— deserve the vital pregnancy and postpartum care they need to deliver a healthy future for themselves and their babies. Every maternal death is unspeakably tragic, but the estimated 60 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. that could be prevented with the proper care should be completely unacceptable to each and every one of us,” said Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and founder of the What to Expect Foundation and WhatToExpect.com. “The health and wellbeing of our future depends on the health and wellbeing of our moms, and that’s not a partisan issue— that’s a fundamental human issue. That’s why I applaud the bipartisan efforts of my fellow moms, Senators Heitkamp and Capito in introducing the Maternal Mortality Accountability Act. When it comes to maternity care, there should be no red moms or blue moms, red babies or blue babies— our goal must always be healthy moms, healthy babies, and a healthy future.”

The bill is supported by over 80 national organizations including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Preeclampsia Foundation, and the March of Dimes.

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