California Governor Signs ‘Momnibus’ Act to Help Improve Black Maternal and Infant Care in the State
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday signed SB 65, which is designed to improve maternal and infant health disparities among Black people.
Nicknamed the California Momnibus Act, the legislation seeks to improve research and collect data on the racial and socio-economic factors contributing to the alarming maternal and infant mortality rate in communities of color.
“It is unacceptable that the maternal and infant mortality rate among Black and Indigenous communities remains significantly higher than the state average,” Newsom said in a release. “California is committed to tackling discrimination and disparity whenever and wherever it occurs and with today’s signing, we’re doubling down on our commitment to both reproductive and racial justice.”
Black women in America are up to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications compared to other racial and ethnic groups. In California, Black women are six times more likely to die from these complications.
An estimated two thirds of these overall deaths are deemed preventable.
In 2018, the United States infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births among Black infants was the highest at 10.8 percent compared to others. Black infants in California die before reaching age 1 at double the state’s average.
The Momnibus Act aims to tackle systematic racism and advance the state’s equity goals by establishing a maternal mortality board to take a closer look at pregnancy-related and infant deaths.
This board will make recommendations on how to close the gap and provide best practices.
SB 65, which will go into effect on January of 2022, will also expand midwifery workforce through training, offer doula care for Medi-Cal enrollees and provide low-income people with cash assistance through their pregnancies and first few years after delivery.
“Gov. Newsom’s signing SB 65, the California Momnibus Act, represents a significant victory for Black maternal and infant health,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored SB 65 with support from maternal and racial justice groups across the state.