April 15, 2020

Duckworth, Durbin Join Harris in Calling to Designate April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and 20 of their colleagues in reintroducing a resolution to designate April 11-17, 2020, as Black Maternal Health Week to raise awareness about the black maternal health crisis. The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality for developed nations. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black mothers in the United States are three to four times more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy-related causes and are two times more likely than white mothers to suffer from pregnancy-related illnesses, known as maternal morbidities. In Illinois, women of color are six times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications.

It’s a tragedy every time a new mother dies from a preventable cause related to pregnancy or childbirth and it’s shameful that far too often those new moms are women of color whose pain or symptoms have been overlooked or ignored,” Duckworth said. “In the midst of a pandemic that’s also disproportionately affecting black communities, we all must do everything we can to address the systemic inequalities in our healthcare system, which is why I’m proud to join Senators Durbin and Harris in reintroducing this resolution.”

In the United States, black mothers continue to experience unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality, with black women two and half times more likely than white women to die in child birth. Far too many mothers in Illinois have died because of this crisis. I will continue to support legislation that prioritizes black maternal health, and I’m proud to join with Senator Duckworth in recognizing that commitment with this resolution,” Durbin said.  

The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where rates of illness and death during pregnancy are on the rise. From 2000 to 2014, the U.S. experienced a substantial increase of 26.6 percent in maternal mortality rates.

Joining Duckworth, Durbin and Harris on the resolution are Senators Merkley (D-OR), Blumenthal (D-CT), Van Hollen (D-MD), Booker (D-NJ), Klobuchar (D-MN), Hirono (D-HI), Markey (D-MA), Jones (D-AL), Menendez (D-NJ), Wyden (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT), Feinstein (D-CA), Murray (D-WA), Bennet (D-CO), Baldwin (D-WI), Peters (D-MI), Smith (D-MN), Brown (D-OH), Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Stabenow (D-MI).

The resolution is sponsored by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Center for Reproductive Rights, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Commonsense Childbirth, Every Mother Counts, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, March for Moms, National Birth Equity Collaborative, National Black Midwives Alliance, National Medical Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Perinatal Task Force, National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Southern Birth Justice Network, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.


A full copy of the resolution can be found here.