NEW Coalition Forms & Hosts Town Hall to Address Crisis of Maternity Care Inequity in Massachusetts
On June 3, 2020 at 3 pm, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Representative Kay Khan, Representative Liz Miranda, Senator Becca Rausch and the Massachusetts COVID-19 Perinatal Coalition (MCPC) invite all stakeholders including pregnant and birthing people to join us in a discussion of priority issues for moms and birthing people during COVID-19. Register here to receive the Zoom link to attend.
The COVID-19 crisis has strained our hospitals and health care system beyond capacity, shining a light on our already-failing maternity care system and exacerbating existing maternal health inequities in the Commonwealth. Prior to the pandemic, maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidities had been rising for years in Massachusetts -- with persistent racial and geographic disparities -- due to system failures and pervasive racism. During the pandemic, we have seen concerning trends: a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 being born by black and brown communities, variation in hospital policies on labor support and mom and baby separation, lack of sufficient personal protective equipment and testing availability for health care providers, increases in c-sections and forceps delivery, diminished access to anesthesia, and high levels of anxiety and depression.
“As COVID has ravaged our hospitals, economy and taken a particular toll on communities of color, we must come together to offer thoughtful policy solutions to this crisis within maternal care. I am so pleased to see this coalition come together and am committed to working collaboratively with my fellow legislators to move to action as soon as possible based on their recommendations,” said State Representative Liz Miranda.
“Severe maternal morbidity and mortality have been on the rise in the Commonwealth long before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Tragically, this crisis has amplified existing maternal health disparities and disproportionately harmed certain populations, particularly pregnant people of color. As a State Representative and an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, I am looking forward to hearing directly from impacted individuals and working with my colleagues on building a more equitable maternal health care system in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said State Representative Kay Khan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the deep inequities in our healthcare system that disproportionately affect pregnant and birthing people, particularly people of color. During a global pandemic – now more than ever – it is critically important that we expand out-of-hospital birth options to improve health outcomes, address racial disparities in maternal health, keep healthcare costs low, relieve pressure on our healthcare infrastructure, and reduce the spread of COVID-19. I am deeply honored to work alongside community advocates and my colleagues in the Legislature to advance critical racial and reproductive justice legislation for pregnant and birthing people in our Commonwealth,” said State Senator Becca Rausch.
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Perinatal Coalition is committed to bringing together statewide leaders in health equity, reproductive justice, health care, public health, and policy, with a strong community voice, to advocate for policies to address the urgent needs of families during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are leading with our community at heart to unite our voices for the best health outcomes, centering the experiences of the families most impacted by the intersection of inequities in maternal health and the pandemic," said maternal and fetal health advocate and MCPC Steering Committee member Nneka Hall.
Based on findings from the Town Hall, MCPC will release a report later this month with recommendations to promote equitable, consistent maternity care that is based on current evidence and best practices for mothers and infants within the context of the pandemic. Growing families must be our priority and ensuring that they have the best health outcomes must be at the forefront of our health care policies at this time. To receive a copy of our report, please sign-up for our listserve here.