Jones tackles maternal mortality crisis for black women in latest bill

Published 3:27 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-AL, cosponsored the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (Maternal CARE) Act, which is aimed at improving health outcomes for all women during pregnancy and addressing the “persistent bias” in the nation’s medical system that has contributed to the “ongoing black maternal mortality crisis,” according to a press release from Jones’ office.

“The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the worl and the statistics are even worse for women of color and women in rural areas,” said Jones, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It’s appalling that black women in Alabama are five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women.”

According to the press release, Jones’ Maternal CARE Act would do the following:

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• Allocate $125 million to identify high-risk pregancnies and provide mothers with the “culturally competent care and resources they need – the program would help states develop and carry out medial home programs for pregnant women;

• Create a $25 million program to address racial bias in maternal healthcare – this grant is aimed at medical schools to support evidence-based training to improve care for black women;

• Help medical schools incorporate bias recognition in clinical skills testing.

“This bill is a step in the right direction towards addressing the racial disparities that exist in maternal care and towards expanding access to the healthcare women need during and after pregnancy,” Jones said.

The bill has the support of a number of prominent Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN.

This bill is the latest in a slate of bills Jones has backed aimed at strengthening families and improving health outcomes for women and children.

So far, Jones has also introduced the Foster Care Tax Credit Act, which ensures that financial barriers don’t prevent loving families from opening their homes to foster children, and the Healthy MOM Act, which helps women access affordable healthcare during and after pregancy.