vanpelt 022221CHICAGO – Last week the White House made new commitments to combat the nation’s obtuse rates of maternal mortality, and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) is excited to see a plan on a national level.

Tuesday was declared a Maternal Health Day of Action, identifying ways that federal and state governments can support mothers before, during and after childbirth. One initiative includes an investment of over $3 billion from the Build Back Better Act for maternal health funding.

“This is an issue near and dear to my heart, as Black women die at disproportionate rates due to pregnancy related causes,” Van Pelt said. “No one should die while giving life to another, and while I’ve been working to end this in our state, I’m glad to see it being addressed nationally.”

Van Pelt sponsored Public Act 102-0414, a measure to expand birthing center licenses in Illinois, which was signed into law in August. This initiative expands the available licenses for birthing centers from 10 to 17, providing that birth center alternative health care models shall be located in the West Side of Chicago, the South Side of Chicago and East St. Louis.

The White House is encouraging states to expand postpartum coverage, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is releasing new guidance on postpartum care and create a proposal for the establishment of a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation.  

“We must ensure not only that maternal related deaths are prevented, but also that mothers stay mentally and physically healthy after giving birth to their child,” Van Pelt said. “I am happy that the White House is committed to reducing complications around pregnancies and childbirth, and I know countless lives will be saved because of these measures.”

Illinois was the first state in the nation to extend coverage to ensure low-income mothers receive the support they need in the critical months following birth, and now the White House is encouraging the rest of the nation to do the same.