North Carolina has a Black maternal health crisis in as well as gaps in reproductive health care that was further exposed during the pandemic. The maternal death rate is especially high in North Carolina. North Carolina ranks 30th out of the 50 states. Nationally Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white or Hispanic women. The United States has the highest maternal death rate of all the Western democracies, and, most alarmingly, the rate has been rising.
North Carolina NOW supports the passage of the North Carolina Momnibus Act (SB632/HB 507) that targets the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addresses the gaps in reproductive health care during the pandemic. Here is an action for you to take to push our representatives to end the Black maternal health crisis NOW!
Step 1: Educate yourself and share what you’ve learned with others.
Read NC NOW Legislative Update #12 for more information on the problem and what the bills would do.
You can search for news articles on the subject of “Black maternity crisis.” Here is one recognizing the issue pre-pandemic:
Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis, 4/11/18, New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/magazine/black-mothers-babies-death-maternal-mortality.html,
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies. Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.”
In 2021: The NC Momnibus Act was introduced into the state legislature
The NC Momnibus Act was introduced in the state legislature April 6 and is “a collection of bills aimed at tackling the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addressing the gaps in reproductive healthcare during the pandemic.” It follows the example of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 that was introduced in Congress by Reps. Alma Adams, D-N.C. and Lauren Underwood, D-Ill. in February of 2021.
“Health experts and advocates say a number of social determinants such as the lack of health care, poverty and hunger, and racism all play a role in the death of Black moms in America.”
Read more about it in the Fayetteville Observer, at https://www.fayobserver.com/story/news/2021/04/13/nc-momnibus-act-aims-help-black-mothers-maternal-healthcare/7182220002/
Step 2: Contact your state senator and house representative to state your support for the North Carolina Momnibus Act.
How do I find out who represents me in the North Carolina General Assembly?
Use this site for identifying your state senator and NC House representative: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators
Put your home address in as your address. You will find contact information including office phone, email, and mailing address in Raleigh.
Whether you call or write, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent and a member of NC NOW and deliver your message of support for the Momnibus bill – use SB 632 if you are speaking to a state senator; use HB 507 if you are speaking to a representative of the NC House.
You might say,
This is (state your name). I live in (city or town in NC) in your district and am a member of NC NOW. I support passage and full funding of the Momnibus Act (SB 632 or HB 507).
If you prefer to use your own script, go for it! Just be sure to identify yourself as a constituent, identify the bill, and keep your message short.
These are the primary sponsors for the bill:
In the Senate – Natalie Murdock, Sydney Batch, DeAndrea Salvador
In the House –Julie von Haefen, Carla Cunningham, Vernetta Alston, Zack Hawkins
You can find the names of co-sponsors here from the House:
House Bill 507, at https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/hb507
Co-sponsors from the Senate are Natasha R. Marcus, Julie Mayfield and Kirk deViere,
Step 3: Expand the impact after contacting your state legislator.
Use social media to tell others that you made that contact!
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper to talk about your support for the NC Momnibus Act and why it is important.
Directions for submitting a letter are generally found on the Opinion Page of your newspaper.
Step 4: Let people know you got published!
Please tell us if you write and/or get a letter to the editor (LTE) or op-ed published. We would like to link to your article from our website and post on social media, etc, to amplify the message.
Thank you for acting now to
End the Black Maternal Health Care Crisis!