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Reps. Quigley & Herrera Beutler Secure $2 Million for CDC Efforts to Tackle Maternal Death

Jul 11, 2018
Press Release
Funding Aims to Understand & Address the United States’ Prevalence of Maternal Death, Ranked Worst in the Developed World

WASHINGTON – Today, during the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations markup, Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) successfully secured $2 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) efforts in preventing maternal deaths through state-based Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRC).

“More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other country in the developed world; and only in the United States is the rate of death actually rising,” said Rep. Quigley. “We must treat this often surprising and entirely heartbreaking statistic as a call to action. This potentially lifesaving research—made possible by new funding in this bill—can help identify the root causes and trends of maternal death to protect more women and families in the years to come. I am pleased to secure additional money to help health care professionals and advocates advance prevention strategies that address the magnitude and multitude of childbirth complications.”

“We took a positive step forward today to make giving birth a safer experience for moms in Southwest Washington and across the country. Through our work on the Appropriations Committee, I’m pleased we were able to secure funding to help states understand maternal health risks and challenges,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler. “I’ve heard far too many stories of women dying or experiencing traumatic experiences in childbirth, and so many of the issues they’re confronting are preventable. I will not let up on my effort to address this national crisis and will continue to work to get my bipartisan Preventing Maternal Deaths Act passed in the U.S. House.”

The program is designed to collect data on maternal deaths through state-run committees that review and categorize maternal causes of death. Approximately thirty-five states, including Illinois and Washington, currently have an established MMRC. This new funding is intended to continue scaling CDC’s partnership with states to establish and expand these committees.

The United States has the worst rate of maternal death in the developed world, with an estimated 700-900 annual deaths and thousands of women experiencing near fatal complications after childbirth. The numbers are approximate in large part because reporting data is incomplete and not-federally mandated. Reliable information on how many U.S. women die or nearly die in childbirth—and how those incidents break down based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic factors—is needed in order to develop effective public health prevention strategies. These resources will help CDC build on their ability to track that data through Maternal Mortality Review Committees.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) applauds Representatives Quigley and Herrera Beutler for their leadership in offering this amendment to combat the alarming rates of maternal mortality in the United States,” said Dr. Lisa Hollier, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “The first step to addressing this issue is making sure we understand the causes and contributing factors for  these tragic deaths. Maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs) are the gold standard in maternal mortality assessment. They bring together multidisciplinary experts in clinical care, social support, and community health to review individual maternal deaths and make locally-relevant recommendations for how to prevent them in the future. Unfortunately, 17 states do not have an MMRC, and some states with established MMRCs lack financial resources and need technical assistance and support. This amendment will boost funding for CDC’s Safe Motherhood program by $2 million, which would support CDC’s efforts to assist state MMRCs, ensure standardized data collection and review, and advance our efforts to reduce maternal mortality. We thank Representatives Herrera Beutler and Quigley for this promising step forward, and are committed to continuing our work with Congress to ensure robust support for MMRCs across the country.”