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AAFA Supports Bills Aimed at Saving and Improving the Lives of Black Mothers

 
Update as of March 2, 2021:

Advocacy Action Alert! Ask your representatives to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act. Use our simple tool at the bottom of this blog post to email a letter or share your message on Twitter.


On Feb. 8, 2021, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and other leaders of Congress introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act. The act is made up of 12 bills introduced by Black Maternal Health Caucus members. Its goal is to address the health crisis among Black mothers in the U.S.

America has the highest numbers of deaths among pregnant and new mothers in the developed world. And the rate is rising. This crisis is most severe for Black mothers. Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from complications that arise in pregnancy.

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Asthma is one of the most common conditions that can affect pregnancy.  Black women also have the highest death rates from asthma in the United States. In the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) β€œAsthma Disparities in America” report, we look at how social determinants (factors) of health and structural racism drive disparities in asthma.

AAFA is proud to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act with the goal of ending maternal deaths and closing racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes.

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AAFA is especially encouraged by two bills within the Momnibus Act:

  • The Social Determinants for Moms Act makes key investments in social determinants to end disparities in maternal health outcomes. This can include factors such as housing and environment. These investments address the same factors driving the disparities in asthma that contribute to the Black maternal health crisis.

  • The Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act invests in community programs to address climate change-related risks. Climate change-related risks include extreme heat, air pollution, and other threats to the environment. A recent study found that these risks are greatly related to birth outcomes. People with asthma and minority groups are at the highest risk.1 Addressing climate change is critical to improving maternal health outcomes, especially for Black mothers with asthma.

I join @AAFANational in supporting the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to save the lives of Black moms and close racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes: https://ctt.ec/1Yocd+ #Asthma #HealthEquityNOW #Momnibus #SaveMoms

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Additional highlights from the Act include:

  • Investments in improving social determinants of health like housing, transportation and nutrition which can impact maternal health outcomes.
  • Funding for community-based organizations working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
  • Improvement of data collection to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the U.S. and form more solutions to address it.
  • Promotion of high-quality maternity care and continuous health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year after birth.
  • Strengthening programs to improve maternal health during COVID-19 and other public health emergencies.
  • Promoting maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.
  • Providing more support for moms in the workforce around the time of giving birth.
  • It also focuses on high-risk populations including pregnant veterans, incarcerated moms, Hispanic, Indigenous, and Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) Americans.

AAFA thanks the Black Maternal Health Caucus for their leadership of this critical bill. And we look forward to working with the many supporting organizations of the Momnibus Act.

Ask your legislators to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act. Use our tool below to send an email to your representative. You can also choose to post your message on Twitter. Just follow the steps:



Reference

1. Bekkar B, Pacheco S, Basu R, DeNicola N. Association of Air Pollution and Heat Exposure With Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight, and Stillbirth in the US: A Systematic Review. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(6):e208243. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.8243

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I am not black but I had no support in the workplace during pregnancy, and my (now-ex) child's father only stole from me in that yi e period. I became ill, but worked until two days before I gave birth, used all my vacation days for the first 2 weeks after, actually had to bring my infant to work in my office after that, taking breaks to breast feed, and I got really sick during pregnancy and after.  I had developed severe asthma during pregnancy, and then had a heart attack caused by a severe allergic disease shortly after. And I had worked that job for 5 years-- at a mental health and rehab wellness/treatment center of all places-- been promoted every year, had gotten my BA degree at the same time, I was a great employee... but did I get maternity leave?-- nope. Did they care about MY wellness? Nope. And I didn't make much money at all for being a supervisor in a healthcare field-- as a woman. And they wanted me back in fulltime a week after the heart attack! When I asked to go to part time employment with a pay cut, and train others to take over some of my responsibilities, they fired me-- not because of anything I did.. Just said "we don't need you anymore". All my employees and coworkers said they DID need me and that it was chaos there without me. Many of them left after that. The business shut down not long after all that-- due to their fall into chaos -- because I did SO much for them abd they were so callous and unwilling to make changes that would've not cost them a dime and resolved the issues. I cared about my job and clients and the work we did. We helped people. But no one helped the workers. No one helped me.

I hope they help all mothers in the workforce-- not just black mothers. I ended up with such health damage-- damage to my heart-- that it disabled me. Emotionally, I felt used and abandoned by my job and the baby and Is only form of income. I had to apply for state help, get on foid stamps, tgen fight gir unemployment, then disability. But at least I get to be at home with my son now-- which is what I truly do want. At least I found a way to breastfeed for 3 months before I had the heart attack and had to be put on meds that I couldnt breastfeed on. Of course Id rather have been helped BEFORE I nearly died, Id rather have my health and just had time off for maternity leave. I KNOW it could have helped me to have that. I am lucky to be alive and my son not an orphan. Now Im a singe mom on disability, in poverty, with no help from my child's father, raising a child on my own with a severe health issue. Luckily my parents help me and luckily I was able to survive the 2 year period it took to apply for disability, get denied and appeal, and prove my case in courts with disability lawyers who get paid only if you win and thankfully I did get approved due to the damage. Being pregnant is hard. Being a new mom is hard. Doing it as a single, young mom in early career is hard. Add asthma and allergic disease. Beyond hard. I don't think women used to be expected to work through pregnancy, work through illness, and do everything on their own (or against others as it often felt like people were not on my side and I was battling against them too). I really hope they pass legislation to help protect pregnant women and babies, that we could at least get maternity leave, even those of us who are white. I dont think that should disqualify a person from help.

Last edited by Shea
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