Del. “Momnibus” package plans to provide support for Black moms to be

DELAWARE – Some lawmakers are calling the first state of Black maternal health outcomes an epidemic.

Black expecting moms are dying two to three more times than their white counterparts, at Legislative Hall lawmakers are trying to end that with a package of bills.

“How can you oppose maternal health in Delaware? It’s an epidemic and we need to address it,” Representative Melissa Minor-Brown emphasizes.

Representative Minor-Brown is proposing the State Momnibus Packet. The packet includes four bills aimed to aid Black mothers in the life-changing experience of childbirth. Those bills include House Bills 340, 342, 343, and 344.

“Delaware ranking twenty-eighth in the nation when it comes to their mortality and when we look at our numbers of women who are dying during pregnancy and during childbirth – majority of them are Black women,” adds Representative Minor-Brown.

The bill sponsor also says this bill package is important to her because she has experienced preventable complications in both of her pregnancies. Representative Minor-Brown says social-economic status plays a role in the care you receive – “Data has proven a college-degreed Black woman is more likely to die during childbirth and pregnancy than a White woman with less than a high school diploma, that’s scary,” she tells 47 ABC.

While Representative Ruth Briggs King is in support of the bills, she wants to ensure those helping Black moms through pregnancy and childbirth are qualified to do so.

“That’s why I’m trying to specify the language. So I’m going to try and go back and tighten that up so we understand we’re talking about doula services by a person that has been accredited or has completed a program,” says Representative Ruth Briggs King.

She says without checking doula credentials it becomes a safety risk and insulting to those who have done the work to get their certifications. Representative Briggs King also says it’s important that the quality of doulas is at the forefront in correctional systems and people’s homes.

And while Representative Briggs King hopes to adjust the language, the bill sponsor Representative Minor-Brown says ultimately the changes will create a safer experience for Black pregnant moms, no matter what stage of pregnancy they’re in.

“We want to ensure they have a positive birthing experience and make sure they have advocacy during labor, delivery, pregnancy, and postpartum, but the main focus is to improve our maternal and birthing outcomes,” says Representative Minor-Brown.

Three out of the four bills have been favorably voted out of committee the fourth bill is expected to be amended. While the bills work together to tackle a similar goal, each of them focuses on a specific issue that will help Black maternal health outcomes. The next steps for the bill are to be discussed on the floor and moved on to the Senate. To learn more about the bills specifically, visit the Delaware General Assembly’s website.

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