WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tina Smith introduced legislation to address America’s worsening maternal mortality crisis, which has a disproportionate impact on Black, Brown, Indigenous and all People of Color. The Data to Save Moms Act seeks to understand the root causes of this emergency by improving data collection on maternal mortality and morbidity.
From 2018 to 2021, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. increased by 89%. The crisis is even more acute for Black, Native and Indigenous women, who are more than twice as likely to die due to a pregnancy-related complication as white women.
“I do not think it’s radical to believe that everyone who gives birth should be able to access high-quality health care,” said Sen. Smith. “America’s increasing maternal mortality rate, and the disparities in maternal health outcomes for People of Color, is a national emergency. My legislation will identify the root causes of this problem so we can tackle them head on. This is about establishing maternal health justice—especially for People of Color.”
“We are committed to addressing the underlying root causes of maternal mortality and morbidity and applaud Senator Tina Smith and Representative Sharice Davids for introducing the Data to Save Moms Act, which will improve data collection to advance equitable responses to the ongoing maternal health crisis,” said March of Dimes Sr. Vice President, Public Policy & Government Affairs, Stacey Y. Brayboy. “The staggering maternal mortality rates women, particularly for Black and Indigenous women of color, face in the nation is an unacceptable trend that must be addressed without further delay. We are pleased this bill will take important steps to ensure the voices of pregnant people inform an equitable response to the maternal mortality crisis through comprehensive data collection.”
The Data to Save Moms Act will:
- Establish a grant program to promote representative community engagement in Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) in states across the country.
- Commission a comprehensive study to understand the scope of the Native American maternal health crisis.
- Provide funding to establish the first Tribal MMRC.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of maternal health data collection, emphasizing the importance of listening to the stories of pregnant people.
- Invest in maternal health research at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AAPISIs).
The Data to Save Moms Act is supported by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and more than 180 organizations. Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03) introduced the House companion bill.