WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined fellow Members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus to introduce a historic “Momnibus” legislative package to address the United States’ urgent maternal health crisis.
Across the country, escalating maternal mortality rates are uneven across racial divides. In Virginia specifically, Black mothers are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act would build on existing maternal health legislation by filling gaps through nine new bills to comprehensively address many dimensions of the maternal health crisis in the United States. The legislation makes significant investments in community-based organizations, social determinants of health, and the perinatal workforce. Additionally, the bill calls for improvements in data collection and quality measures, telehealth, and innovative payment models. In addition to direct efforts to improve Black maternal health outcomes, the Momnibus focuses on additional high-risk populations—including women veterans, incarcerated women, and Native Americans.
“In an industrialized country as advanced as the United States, no mother should have the fear of dying during childbirth or in the following months. In Virginia, we’ve seen staggering increases in morbidity among Black mothers, and this crisis demands quick action across all levels of government,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to help introduce the Black Maternal Health Momnibus today, because every mom in America should receive the maternity care and healthcare support they deserve. By strengthening our investment in community organizations, developing new tools to improve data collection, and recruiting the next generation of maternity care professionals, we are building a strategy to combat rising death rates among Virginia mothers. I’d like to thank Congresswoman Underwood and Adams, as well as Senator Harris, for their leadership on this issue—and I’ll keep fighting for the healthy and safe futures of all moms and families.”
The Momnibus package is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Alma Adams (D-NC-12). In the U.S. Senate, the legislative package is led by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus is composed of nine individual bills sponsored by Members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and Senator Harris. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition;
- Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes, particularly for Black women;
- Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination;
- Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives maternity care and support from people she can trust;
- Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it;
- Invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments;
- Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated women;
- Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas; and
- Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through labor and delivery and up to 1 year postpartum.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus builds on Spanberger’s work to expedite federal action towards reducing rates of maternal mortality in Central Virginia and across the country. Last month, she helped introduce a resolution recognizing the ongoing maternal mortality crisis in the United States. The resolution also stresses the importance of reducing mortality and morbidity among all women.