More than 15,000 pregnant women tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began and nearly 40 have died, according to the CDC.  And due to structural racism and disparities in our health care system, Black and Hispanic pregnant women are disproportionately affected. 

But long before we ever heard the term “coronavirus” the U.S. had the highest maternal mortality ratio among wealthy nations, and life-threatening pregnancy related illnesses and injuries affected more than 50,000 pregnant people in this country each year. The pandemic is exacerbating already tragic maternal health disparities for Black, Brown and Indigenous women. Black women are more than three times more likely to die from primarily preventable pregnancy complications as their white counterparts, and American Indian/Alaska Native women are twice as likely to die.   

These are disturbing gaps in our health care system. That is why NOW is supporting The Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act (H.R. 8027). 

Introduced on Aug. 10 by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), this legislation would ensure pregnant people – especially pregnant people of color – are included in the federal government’s coronavirus public health response by improving research and data collection and dedicating resources to safeguard the health of pregnant and postpartum individuals.  It would also task the federal government with improving the delivery of and access to culturally appropriate maternity care. This bill is currently being referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and Natural Resources. 

Take Action NOW 

Contact your policymakers to sign on as co-sponsors and if they are a part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor and Natural Resources urge them to up H.R. 8097. 

Find your Senators here or Representatives here or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. 

Tell them: 

As a resident of (State/District), I demand that (Congressperson’s Name) co-sponsor and support a piece of legislation that will address the alarming disparities in maternal health care and save lives during the pandemic and beyond. The Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act would improve data collection on maternal health and provide much needed resources to tackle the persistent inequities imposed on Black and Brown pregnant people. 

More than 15,000 pregnant people have tested positive for COVID-19 and even before the pandemic, the U.S. had the highest maternal mortality ratio among wealthy nations, especially for women of color. We must act now before one more pregnant person is put needlessly at risk with a life-threatening pregnancy related illness. Please support this long overdue bill today.    

Speak Out on Social Media 

Share these messages on social media (and be sure to tag your Congresspersons!): 

 I support The Maternal Health Pandemic Response Act, which would ensure pregnant people are included in the coronavirus public health response. 15,000 pregnant people have tested positive for COVID. We must act NOW! #maternalhealth   

Thank you for taking action today and for all that you do for NOW. It truly does make a difference when we stand up and speak out!