Governor Newsom works to close the racial gap in maternal and infant mortality rates with Momnibus Act (Bill 65). Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) authored the Bill and received support from maternal health and racial justice groups. Bill 65 improves research and data collection on racial and socioeconomic factors contributing to higher maternal and infant mortality rates. In addition, it forces the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to implement Medi-Cal doula benefits. Including extending eligibility to mothers dealing with postpartum.
“It is unacceptable that the maternal and infant mortality rate among Black and Indigenous communities remains significantly higher than the state average. California is committed to tackling discrimination and disparity whenever and wherever it occurs, and with today’s signing, we’re doubling down on our commitment to both reproductive and racial justice,” Newsom stated.
The Momnibus Act is vital to protect Black mothers! The American Medical Association reports that Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die due to a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Think about how crazy that number is. Now, think about how it is even crazier we need a bill to help protect us. Unfortunately, racism and unconscious bias play a major role in these numbers, and the numbers don’t lie.
In 2016, a survey given to white medical students revealed heartbreaking results. Nearly half believed false facts about Black patients, including thicker skin and less sensitive nerve endings. In 2020, a study showed that Black babies are more likely to survive if cared for by Black doctors. Many Black women are opting for doulas because of this reason alone. Numbers like these are the reason why the CDC officially declared racism as a public health threat earlier this year. Too many Black mamas are dying.
This bill is a victory for Black expecting families!