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Adams Celebrates Passage of Black Maternal Health Caucus Priorities in Appropriations Bill

Jul 30, 2021
Press Release
Legislation includes funding for priorities to reduce maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities through investments in key federal programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswomen Alma Adams (NC-12) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14), the co-founders and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, released the following statements after multiple priorities of the Caucus passed the House of Representatives as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations.

“I’m proud to join Congresswoman Lauren Underwood in celebrating the inclusion of language from our Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act in the Congressional spending language that passed the House today,” said Adams. “As a lead sponsor of the Momnibus, I am encouraged to see even more progress towards ending systemic disparities in maternal care. I will continue to call on Congress to take action on the rest of the Momnibus, because our mamas can’t wait.”

“The maternal health crisis in the United States has not gotten any better during my lifetime—and the risks facing mothers only increased during the coronavirus pandemic. I thank Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Ranking Member Tom Cole for their dedication to reversing these alarming and unacceptable trends with robust funding for key maternal health programs,” said Underwood. “As a Co-Chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and Member of Appropriations Committee, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to build on these historic investments to save moms’ lives, reduce racial and ethnic maternal health disparities, and advance true equity and justice for all.”

The United States currently has the worst maternal death rate in the industrialized world and the only rate that is rising. There are also significant disparities for Black mothers and other women and birthing people of color. To reverse these alarming trends, the Black Maternal Health Caucus is taking bold action through legislation like the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. 959) and through the appropriations process.

Priorities passed include:

  • $119 million, an increase of $56 million, for Safe Motherhood/Infant Health Programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include Maternal Mortality Review Committees and Perinatal Quality Collaboratives; 
  • $30 million for the National Institute of Health Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative to advance maternal health research; 
  • $869 million, an increase of $156 million, for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant to fund programs that support the health and well-being of mothers, children, and families; 
  • $15 million for CDC’s Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers & Babies program, which detects the effects of new health threats like COVID-19 on pregnant people and their babies by collecting key data; 
  • $5 million for trainings on implicit bias & racism for health care professionals; 
  • Language to urge the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to advance culturally appropriate perinatal suicide prevention programs;  
  • $14 million, an increase of $5 million for Alliance for Maternal Health Safety Bundles, which advance data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiatives; 
  • $53 million, an increase of $30 million, for State Maternal Health Innovation Grants; 
  • $5 million, an increase of $2 million, for the Maternal Mental Health Hotline; 
  • $25 million in new funding for the Pregnancy Medical Home Demonstration; 
  • $10 million, an increase of $5 million, for Screening and Treatment for Maternal Depression and Related Disorders; 
  • $5 million, an increase of $2.5 million, for midwifery education programs; and 
  • On top of these maternal health programs, the bill also provides robust funding for other initiatives across HHS that will support mothers, infants, and families across the United States. Together, these investments will save lives, reduce disparities, and advance birth equity. 

Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. is serving her fourth full term in Congress. She represents the 12th District of North Carolina, which includes parts of Charlotte, Huntersville, and Mecklenburg County. In 2018, she introduced the first Black Maternal Health Week resolution with then-Senator Kamala Harris. In 2019, she co-founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus with Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14). In March 2020, Adams, along with Harris and Underwood, introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act for the first time, and in February 2021 reintroduced an expanded version of the package with Senator Cory Booker. Adams is a mother of two and a grandmother of four.