By Karen Stokes
The maternal mortality rate is rising in Wisconsin, especially in the African American community. Women need support and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, candidate for the U.S. Senate has a plan to help women.
The United States’ maternal mortality rate, sitting at 23.8 per 10,000 births in 2020, is drastically higher than any other high-income country. Though these numbers are already too high, Black women face an even higher risk of pregnancy-related deaths. The maternal mortality rate for Black women is three to four times higher than the rate of white women.
According to the World Health Organization, the major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are (4): severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth) infections (usually after childbirth) high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
In the Senate, Mandela will prioritize policies that will provide support to Wisconsin mothers, the MOMMA’s Act, and the Black Maternal Health ‘Momnibus’ Act.
The MOMMA’s Act, cosponsored by Congresswoman Gwen Moore, seeks to reduce the rising maternal and infant mortality rate, especially for mothers and babies of color.
The Black Maternal Health ‘Momnibus’ Act is a comprehensive bill that focuses on critical social investments to support maternal health conditions. Barnes will be co-sponsoring this bill with Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Ron Johnson refused to cosponsor the package.
And unlike Ron Johnson who voted to gut the program as a whole, Barnes will push Wisconsin to fully adopt Medicaid expansion for the entire population and adopt 12 months of postpartum care as studies show a notable improvement in the maternal mortality rate just by the extension.
Barnes will continue to raise awareness, consider any and all ideas, and will happily work across the aisle to address the racial gap in maternal health and mortality rate.