Report includes an overview of how maternal mortality is tracked, trends in mortality data, and how states are using federal funding to reduce deaths
Findings demonstrate the need for continued efforts to reduce maternal mortality and address racial, ethnic, and age-related disparities
While the maternal mortality ratio decreased globally by about three percent from 2000 to 2015, the ratio in the U.S. increased by three percent
Murray: “This new report sheds light on where we are and where we need to go in our fight to reduce pregnancy-related deaths, improve maternal health equity, and make sure every woman—regardless of race, age, or income—can have a safe pregnancy.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on maternal mortality describing how maternal deaths are tracked, trends and disparities in mortality data, and how federal funding is being used to reduce pregnancy-related deaths. Senator Murray requested the report in 2018 to determine how effectively federal investments were being used and what improvements could be made to promote maternal health.
“It’s unacceptable that the U.S. has not only fallen behind in reducing maternal mortality rates, but has actually seen an increase.” Murray said. “This new report sheds light on where we are and where we need to go in our fight to reduce pregnancy-related deaths, improve maternal health equity, and make sure every woman—regardless of race, age, or income—can have a safe pregnancy. It’s clear from this report that we have a lot more work to do, which is why I’m going to keep fighting to address this crisis so that what should be a moment of joy doesn’t end in tragedy for so many families.”
The GAO report found that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 6,700 women died of causes related to or aggravated by their pregnancy between 2007 and 2016. Rates are far higher for some communities of color, with non-Hispanic black women more than three times as likely to die than non-Hispanic white women. The report also advances understanding of how the CDC monitors these deaths and which Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs are available and being used by states to address this crisis.
The report is being released by Senator Patty Murray, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Senator Murray has long been an advocate for reducing maternal mortality rates and advancing maternal health equity. In 2018, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray successively fought for new investments to support state efforts on maternal health. She additionally moved the Maternal Health Accountability Act through the HELP Committee, the first legislation directly focused on this crisis to advance in Congress. In 2015, Murray introduced the 21st Century Women’s Health Act, including provisions to enhance Maternal Mortality Review (MMR) Committees, which can identify ways to prevent pregnancy-related deaths but only exist in half of all states.
The full text of the report, “Maternal Mortality: Trends in Pregnancy-Related Deaths and Federal Efforts to Reduce Them,” can be found HERE.