December 07, 2021

At White House, Duckworth Moderates Maternal Health Day of Action Panel Underscoring Urgent Need For Build Back Better Act


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — During the White House’s first-ever Maternal Health Day of Action, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) moderated a virtual panel composed of women who have been impacted by the challenges facing our nation’s maternal and postpartum care system and health professionals and providers. Duckworth and the panelists discussed their personal experiences and underscored the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better Act to expand high-quality maternal and postpartum care, help end racial disparities in maternal care and save lives across the country. Video of the Senator's opening remarks can be found here and photos of the event can be found here.

Key quotes:

  • “Today’s discussion will help underscore that we have a maternal and postpartum care problem in this country: we’re the only developed nation in the world where the rate of women dying of pregnancy-related, preventable complications is still rising.”
  • “The thing is—we can do something about this. With the Build Back Better Act, we can strengthen our care infrastructure to make sure every mother and child receives the high quality maternal and postpartum care that they deserve and require.”
  • “It’s simple: we’re one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, we shouldn’t be among the most fatal for new moms in the developed world, too.”

Duckworth is a strong advocate for maternal health care and equity. Last week, President Biden signed Duckworth’s bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Served Act into law, which will help address the maternal mortality crisis among women Veterans by improving care at VA facilities and shedding light on the scope of this crisis, particularly among women of color.

Earlier this year, Duckworth joined U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Alma Adams (D-NC-12) in unveiling the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which includes a series of 12 bills, including the Protecting Moms Who Served Act, to help save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes and achieve maternal health justice.

Duckworth also worked with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to secure a provision in the American Rescue Plan that gives states a five-year option to extend healthcare coverage for new moms on Medicaid from 60 days after pregnancy to a full year. The provision was based off of legislation that Duckworth, Durbin and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) re-introduced earlier this year that seeks to reduce America’s rising maternal and infant mortality rate. If signed into law, the Build Back Better Act would make this provision permanent and allow moms to stay covered through Medicaid for a full year after giving birth.