Mothers in the United States are dying during childbirth and the one year postpartum period at an alarming rate, and more frequently than mothers in similarly situated countries. The situation is particularly critical for Black women, who are three to four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die during pregnancy or shortly after birth. This ongoing crisis of maternal mortality prompted a number of congressional members to introduce legislation during the 2017-2018 legislative session that addressed maternal and infant health and mortality.
The following fact sheet is a summary of the legislation introduced in the 115th Congress. Three bills—H.R. 315 (Improving Access to Maternity Care Act), H.R. 1318 (Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017), and S. 3029 (PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2018) —have been signed into law. The remaining legislative proposals only progressed to a first committee, though they may be re-introduced in this year’s legislative session.
*Nicole Strombom and Dhara Patel were 2018 National Health Law Program interns.