First Black Maternal Health Momnibus Bill Signed into Law
President Joe Biden signed the Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021 into law on Tuesday, making it the first act of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus legislation to become a law.
Protecting Moms Who Serve will invest $15 million to help improve maternity care and address the racial disparities in maternal mortality among women veterans.
Black women in the United States die from pregnancy-related complications at higher rates than white women.
“For the nearly two million women veterans, maternal health outcomes are not any better,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., one of the lead sponsors of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and the Co-Chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. She joined Biden during Tuesday’s signing.
“Pregnant and postpartum women who served face unique maternal health risks that deserve our attention,” Adams said.
Under the new law, the Government Accountability Office must study maternal mortality among veterans and the negative health outcomes caused by labor and delivery with an emphasis on racial disparities.
It will also require the Department of Veteran Affairs improve its community care facilities and implement a maternity care coordination program. The VA will also have to offer classes and counseling in childbirth, lactation, breastfeeding, breast pumps, parenting and nutrition.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who is an Army veteran and mother, sponsored the bill.
Momnibus is a group of 12 bills aimed to address “every dimension of the maternal health crisis in the United States,” Adams said.