Re-imagining Maternal Health

All birthing people deserve the right to have joyous births. BWWAP is pushing forward a campaign that changes the narrative and policies around maternal health care. Also, check out our birthing people’s bill of rights during covid.

Why this matters

Black women face unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality. Black mothers across the U.S. (including here in California) are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women, and this holds true across incomes and education levels. While all women giving birth in the U.S. face poorer health outcomes than people in similarly developed nations, Black women and infants persistently experience the worst morbidity and mortality rates. This is unconscionable, and complex. Previously, BWWAP passed a bill to require hospital staff to be trained on implicit bias– one obstacle Black women commonly face when accessing health care– but pregnant women need a full range of services to support them throughout pregnancy, during delivery, and after giving birth.

What our bill does

We have put together a comprehensive legislative packet aimed at reducing maternal mortality and morbidity as well as expanding and redefining maternal healthcare in California. The package includes:

  • Expanding full spectrum doula coverage in MediCal
  • Extending Postpartum coverage in Medi-Cal
  • Codifying and expanding California‚Äôs Maternal Mortality Review Board
  • Updating Fetal and Infant Maternal Investigation
  • Expanding access to midwifery programs
  • Universal Income for low and middle-income pregnant people
  • Updating data collection on mortality and morbity experienced in Lesbian, Trans and Gender Non-Confirming communties
  • Reviewing climate impact on birthing outcomes
  • Requiring recommendations to close racial disparity gaps

We are thrilled to share that much of the funds needed to implement our proposed policy changes have been included in the California state budget signed by Governor Newsom in July 2021. Our policy package continues to make its way through the legislature and we remain committed to seeing SB65 across the finish line.

For more information, read this joint statement from the bill co-authors.