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Adams, Underwood Host Second Annual Black Maternal Health Caucus Summit

Jul 28, 2020
Press Release
Virtual Summit advocates for the Black Maternal Health Momnibus and Black maternal health

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14), founders and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, convened more than 100 organizations working to address the Black maternal health crisis for a virtual stakeholder summit. The summit served as an opportunity for members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the importance of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, introduced in March and led by Underwood, Adams, and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), which builds on existing maternal health legislation with nine new bills to comprehensively address every dimension of the Black maternal health crisis. Additionally, Caucus stakeholders described their advocacy efforts and their recommendations for the Caucus.

“For me – like countless others who are dedicated to this effort – this issue is deeply personal. My focus on Black maternal health began when my daughter survived a complicated pregnancy that almost claimed her life and the lives of my grandchildren. I knew when I got to Congress, I had to make this a priority.” said Congresswoman Adams. “Yesterday’s Stakeholder Summit was an opportunity to hear directly from maternal health experts, leaders, and organizations of all sizes and perspectives committed to saving Black lives and ending racial health disparities. Black mothers are needlessly dying during what should be one of the most joyous times of their lives, so it’s absolutely critical that we provide mothers and birthing persons the support they need – before, during and after pregnancy.”

“Over the past year, we have made unprecedented progress to advance life-saving policies to save moms’ lives and tackle glaring racial disparities in maternal mortality. And, we have seen momentum on the Momnibus even more recently as the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee included my bipartisan bill, the Protecting Moms Who Served Act, in a legislative hearing – the first step to becoming law,” said Underwood. “But we cannot rest until we’ve gotten legislation signed into law to ensure that moms can access the care and support they need  before and during their pregnancies, throughout labor and delivery, and for the full yearlong postpartum period and beyond.”

Full video of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Stakeholder Summit can be found here. In total, approximately 1,000 people participated in the summit via Zoom, Twitter, and YouTube.

The following Members of Congress participated in today’s stakeholder summit: Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Judy Chu (CA-27), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and David Trone (MD-06).

The following organizations provided live remarks in today’s stakeholder summit: The Century Foundation (Dr. Jamila Taylor), National Birth Equity Collaborative (Dr. Dawn Godbolt), March of Dimes (Stacey Stewart), Black Mamas Matter Alliance (Angela Aina), Center for American Progress (Jamille Fields Allsbrook), 4Kira4Moms (Charles Johnson), Mamatoto Village (Aza Nedhari), and Center for Reproductive Rights (Jennifer Jacoby). 

Congresswoman Adams is a mother and grandmother, and last April she launched the Black Maternal Health Caucus with Rep. Lauren Underwood to raise awareness within Congress to establish Black maternal health as a national priority, and explore and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally-competent policies and best practices for health outcomes for Black birthing parents. The Black Maternal Health Caucus aims to ensure that Black women and infants have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.