Washington, DC – December 1, 2021 – Pres. Biden has kept his commitment to address maternal health disparities by signing the Protecting Moms Who Served Act. The bill is the first of the broader 12-bill Momnibus package to be passed into law, sponsored by Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) applauds this first step in addressing the nation’s long-standing maternal health crisis and urges the senate to act on other legislative proposals that comprise the broader Momnibus.
The Protecting Moms Who Served Act commissions the first comprehensive examination of the extent of maternal mortality that occurs among veterans. Among the provisions of the bill is $15 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for behavioral health trainings for community maternal healthcare providers. Veterans experience unique mental health challenges, often but not exclusively, linked to their experiences in combat and interpersonal violence that precedes or occurs during their service.
“The U.S. House of Representatives version of the Build Back Better Act was the first step to address adverse outcomes in maternal health, particularly among black, brown and Native Americans,” SOPHE’s CEO Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES.® “We hope this bill serves as a wake up call to the unacceptable racial and gender inequities in maternal health outcomes and catalyzes further legislative action.”
The United States holds the regrettable distinction of having the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations. Birthing persons of color and specifically Black individuals experience disproportionate adverse outcomes in their pregnancies.
SOPHE will continue to track and advocate for the Momnibus legislative package.
We ask for your continued support in contacting your members of Congress to ask that they sign onto the bills contained in the package.
The Protecting Moms Who Served Act and the associated Momnibus package aligns with SOPHE’s resolutions on Promoting Reproductive Justice, Addressing Women’s Health Disparities and Achieving Health Equity. For additional information on each bill contained in the Momnibus legislative package, visit here.