White House says country facing maternal health crisis

WASHINTON, D.C. — The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation in the world with rates more than double the rate of any of its peer nations.

Tuesday, the White House held the first-ever federal Maternal Health Day of Action to address these staggering trends.

Studies show Black and Native American women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women.

During today’s summit, Antoinette “Toni” Brown, a mother from Illinois, shared her story with lawmakers. Her daughter died in 2017 after health complications from giving birth.

Brown said she thought everything was fine until doctors said her daughter was in a coma.

“This was supposed to be the happiest day of my daughter and fiancé's life and mine since this was my only child and my only grandchild it became the worst day,” said Brown.

Brown’s story isn’t uncommon.

Hundreds of women die every year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Studies show more than 65 percent of those deaths are preventable.

Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris issued a nationwide call to action to both public and private industries to help improve maternal health outcomes.

If approved by Congress, the administration says the Build Back Better Act has $3 billion for maternal health.

This includes requiring states to provide 12 months of continuous Medicaid coverage after pregnancy.

During the panel, some described the barriers minority women face in healthcare settings.

“This compounded discrimination results in women but especially women of color feeling invisible or unheard when asking medical providers for help and when expressing issue of pain and discomfort during and after the birthing experience,” said Washington State Senator T’wina Nobles.

If approved by Congress, the Build Back Better Act would also include investments to increase the number of doulas and midwives.