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Why #BlanketChange is Necessary to Ensure the Health of Moms and Babies in Our Nation

Kira, a beautiful mother who was in perfect health, was set to deliver her second baby boy at a prominent hospital in California. After a routine C-section, Kira tragically lost her life  after she was allowed to bleed internally for more than 10 hours before the medical staff took action.

This is the story of one mother who lost her life while bringing life into the world. And, unfortunately, she’s not an anomaly. In 2020, our country remains among the most dangerous developed nations for a woman to give birth.  Every 12 hours a woman dies due to pregnancy complications and more than 50,000 others experience dangerous complications that could have killed them.  

These grim statistics are even worse for moms of color. In fact, Black and Native women are over two times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications as compared to White women; and quality of care, access to care and availability of care contribute to these disparities. In the recent March of Dimes report, titled “Nowhere To Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S.”, we find that seven million women of childbearing age live in counties with limited or no access to maternity care and give birth to 500,000 babies. Where moms live is putting them at risk for serious health complications.

That’s why we need #BlanketChange. In September, March of Dimes and more than 70 partners joined in calling on candidates and elected officials to protect and improve maternal and infant health through the #BlanketChange agenda, which supports equity, access and prevention.

The #BlanketChange agenda calls for:

  1. Eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and driving economic, social and health equity by focusing on prevention, treatment and social determinants of health.
  2. Improving access to care through expanding critical health programs and closing gaps in coverage.
  3. Addressing preventable health conditions through expanding research and improving maternal morbidity and mortality data collection.

We are proud of the progress that partner organizations and advocates have been able to make in a short amount of time. With the help of our advocates, the House, in a bipartisan fashion, passed the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 4995) and the Helping MOMS Act of 2020 (H.R. 4996). Both of these bills provide access and coverage to life-saving healthcare services for all moms and babies. We’ve made some historic progress, but we need to keep this momentum going!

Now, it’s time for advocates to contact their Senators and ask them to follow the example of our Representatives. The Senate needs to pass these bills. They are two great steps in ensuring that preventable maternal mortality is eliminated, and maternal health outcomes are improved in our nation.

We encourage you to join the movement too!  Learn more and contact your Congressional representative to demand #BlanketChange today at BlanketChange.org. Together we can raise our voices to advance the health of all moms and babies.

[1] Story as recalled by Charles Johnson, husband of Kira and founder of 4Kira4Moms. The non-profit organization was founded with th to advocate for improved maternal health policies and regulations, to educate the public about the impact of maternal mortality in communities, provide peer support to the victim’s family, friends, and promote the idea that maternal mortality should be viewed ,and discussed as a human rights issue. For more information visit: 4Kira4Moms.com

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