Credit: Bill Moore photo

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams introduces a package of legislation aimed at supporting maternal health and wellness and particularly targeted at reducing Black maternal mortality and pervasive maternal health disparities.

The legislation includes measures for both during and post-pregnancy and is a model for ways in which local legislatures can combat maternal mortalities and maternal health inequities and injustices. It also includes a resolution calling for further federal action and funding.

The first bill establishes a maternal health bill of rights and provides that pregnant individuals are informed of those rights and the second is aimed at addressing inequities and issues that primarily arise post-pregnancy, related to re-entry in the workplace. The maternal health legislative package also includes a resolution calling on Congress to pass and the President to sign the Black Maternal Health Omnibus Act of 2021.

In New York City, Black women are 8 to 12 times more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts. The issue is often rooted in medical personnel overlooking, minimizing, or dismissing health concerns of Black patients.