MCKINNEY JOINS BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO CLOSE THE
MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES BETWEEN BLACK AND
June 23, 1999
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Member of the Congressional
Women's Caucus, joined members from both sides
of the aisle in introducing the "Safe Motherhood
Monitoring and Prevention Research Act of 1999."
"This legislation is the cornerstone
of my effort to promote better health and to educate
women about their pregnancies," says Congresswoman
McKinney. "The discrepancy of maternal mortality
rates between black and white women is alarming
and it borders on being a crisis. Despite
tremendous advances in science and technology
in the last 20 years our nation has failure to
make progress on maternal mortality. And
the disparity between black and white women on
such a basic health issue--safe motherhood--is
A report released by the Center
for Disease Control (CDC) on June 18, 1999 shows
that for many women, particularly minorities,
motherhood can still be deadly. In fact,
maternal mortality has not declined in the U.S.
since 1982. For black women, the statistics
are far worse. Nationally, maternal death
rates among black women are four times those among
whites. This represents the largest racial
disparity in all public health and we need to
find out why. We need to get more data and
improve standards of care.
"As an African-American woman
and a mother, I am primed to make sure that something
is done about it and because this is shocking,
the timing couldn't be better for action.
Along with CDC's efforts, we are introducing this
legislation that is designed to make safe motherhood
a research priority in this country for all women,"
notes Congresswoman McKinney.
CDC estimates that every day:
*2-3 women die from pregnancy
*2,100 women experience
major pregnancy related complications before labor
*2, 500 women have Cesarean
*2,600 women experience
major labor related complications.
*Maternal Mortality in the
United States increased from 8% in 1966 to 35%
in 1996. Black women are more likely to experience
infant mortality than others. In fact, the
poorest rate for white women is better than the
lowest rate for Black women.
*Georgia's Pregnancy Risk
Assessment Monitoring System reported from 1993-1997
an overview of the behaviors and experience of
Mothers in Georgia. Of the women responding
to the survey, 16% were less than 20 years old,
54% were between the ages of 20 and 29, and 30%
were 30 years old or older, nearly two -thirds
(63%) of the mothers were white and 35% were black.
"Our research dollars must
get to the root of the problem. If we can
save just one life with this legislation we have
been successful in our effort to promote safe
motherhood," concludes Congresswoman McKinney.