PA Black Maternal Health Caucus recognizes Maternal Health Awareness Day

Marks the 4th annual observance

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – Today, the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus recognized the fourth annual observance of Maternal Health Awareness Day through H.R. 278, sponsored by the caucus’ co-chairs Reps. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.; Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware; and La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny.

New Jersey’s American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Tara Hansen Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the New Jersey Medical School, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the New Jersey affiliate of the American College of Nurses-Midwives established Maternal Health Awareness Day in 2016. Since 2021, the ACOG celebrates Maternal Health Awareness Day across the nation.

In 2024, advocates aim to mitigate the maternal health care access crisis in the U.S. with the theme “Access in Crisis” for Maternal Health Awareness Day.

“In observance of Maternal Health Awareness Day, we will continue our work to address Black maternal morbidity and mortality in Pennsylvania by reducing barriers and increasing access to quality and equitable care across the state,” Cephas said. “To do so, we will work to pass the PA MOMNIBUS, which will aim to decrease racial disparities in health care and address the social determinants of health. Through House Resolution 278, we begin our work to address the maternal health care crisis in Pennsylvania.”

Curry added, “We introduced House Resolution 278 as the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council reported more than 2,500 cases of severe maternal morbidity in Pennsylvania from 2021 to 2022. More so, Black, non-Hispanic patients are two to three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause. As such, we must raise awareness of maternal health, so as to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality in our commonwealth.”

“Before my daughter’s birth, I worried about my partner’s health due to the severity of Black maternal morbidity and mortality,” Mayes said. “That’s why I, along with my co-chairs and members of the caucus, will work to enhance maternal health care. Now, with legislation such as Act 5 of 2023 and Act 32 of 2023, we have the opportunity to draft legislation, such as the PA MOMNIBUS, with more data on maternal mortality and more critical resources available to mothers, postpartum individuals and babies. Our resolution will ensure that we work to address barriers for residents trying to access maternal health care.” 

House Resolution 278 awaits a vote in the House Children and Youth Committee.


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