Tuesday May 15, 2018
Bill promises to address issue of death in childbirth or due to pregnancy-related causes.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie that would create a statewide review committee to identify and investigate pregnancy-related deaths among expectant and new mothers.
The statistics on maternal death are staggering. Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes than other women in the developed world. Between 700 and 900 women die each year in the U.S. from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth, and the rate of life-threatening complications has soared in recent decades, impacting more than 50,000 women annually. The rate has more than doubled in Pennsylvania since 1994.
More evidence is needed to better understand the actual causes of death, but research suggests that half of these deaths may be preventable. Moreover, there are significant and widening racial disparities in maternal mortality.
As an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of mothers and their babies, we commend the Pennsylvania General Assembly and offer our sincere gratitude to Reps. Mackenzie and Flo Fabrizio, former Rep. Matt Baker and Sens. Judy Schwank and Lisa Baker for championing this critical piece of legislation.
With the recent observance of Mother's Day, we cannot think of a better way than legislation focused on improving maternal health.
Lynne M. Coslett-Charlton
Editor's note: Coslett-Charlton is chairwoman of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists Pennsylvania section.
Legislation focuses on maternal health