Cephas touts Wolf Administration for winning $2.25 million grant to reduce maternal mortality rates

HARRISBURG, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, today applauded the Wolf administration for securing a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support efforts in decreasing maternal deaths in Pennsylvania.

Cephas wrote letters of support for the CDC grant that will fund the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, a multidisciplinary committee tasked with addressing the pressing issue of growing maternal mortality rates across the commonwealth.

“Nearly a thousand women die from pregnancy-related complications each year across the country and many of these deaths were preventable. It’s also a problem here in our commonwealth,” Cephas said. “I am proud that Pennsylvania was awarded this grant to protect women, mothers, infants and their families.”

Cephas has been a staunch advocate for addressing the rise in pregnancy-related deaths. She has coordinated meetings with stakeholders and the five delivery hospitals in the Philadelphia area to discuss potential solutions, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing, and sat on two panels to better assess the issue.   

In these discussions, Cephas said she also wanted to bring awareness to racial disparities and mental health issues as contributors to the increase in maternal deaths.

“Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, and the causes point to medical racism, as heard in the testimony by medical professionals in these panel discussions,” Cephas said. “I also learned that substance abuse and mental illness have been an issue for many women, regardless of race."

Cephas said she fought to retain a leadership role with the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus to continue efforts in reducing maternal deaths.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 24 of 2018 establishing the Maternal Mortality Review Committee as a first step to address the serious issue of increased maternal mortality across the commonwealth. The committee is tasked with developing recommendations based on collected data to prevent maternal deaths and protect Pennsylvania mothers.