Maternal Justice Legislation Sponsored by Newton State Representative Kay Khan Passes MA House
July 1, 2020—BOSTON—Legislation introduced by Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton), Representative Liz Miranda (D-Boston), and Senator Rebecca Rauch (D-Needham) to reduce racial inequities in maternal health was engrossed unanimously (159-0) yesterday by the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
H.4818, An Act to reduce racial inequities in maternal health, will create a 25-person commission composed of majority Black and Brown membership to examine how institutional and individual racism affects the incidence and prevalence of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidities in communities of color across Massachusetts. The commission is charged with presenting the Massachusetts Legislature with any findings and policy recommendations it considers relevant to reducing racial inequities in maternal health.
"Maternal Justice is Racial Justice. Research on maternal health has focused on bandaging the effects and focusing on individual women’s actions, rather than on addressing the larger, systemic problem: racism, poverty, lack of access to care and the social determinants of health. Here in Massachusetts, Black women die at over twice the rate of white women. In a state with some of the best health care in the country, this issue should not be ignored. This legislation is timely, important and necessary," said Representative Liz Miranda. "Too many Black women are dying in the United States, and this crisis isn't far away from us. It's right in our backyard. Representing the most diverse district in the Commonwealth, I know that far too many in our communities have an intimate connection to this issue."
“Tragically in the Commonwealth, Black women are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes and have twice the rate of maternal morbidities as white women,” said Representative Khan. These inequities are the result of generations of systemic racism in health care. This legislation offers a long overdue opportunity to begin righting this wrong. As leaders in state government, and personally for me as a nurse, I believe it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to ensure all Massachusetts mothers are healthy and thriving.”
This bill now moves to the State Senate.