One Wednesday, Sen. Doug Jones cosponsored the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies Act, which aims to address racial biases in healthcare that contribute to the ongoing black maternal mortality crisis and improve health services for all pregnant people.
“The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world – and the statistics are even worse for women of color and women in rural areas,” Jones said. “It’s appalling that black women in Alabama are five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women.”
The Maternal CARE Act would allocate $25 million to a new program for nursing schools, medical schools and other health professional training programs addressing persistent biases in maternal care. The program would use evidence-based implicit training to reduce stereotypes in judgement with the hopes of improving care for black mothers.
Alongside the training programs, the act would direct the National Academy of Medicine to study and make recommendations on bias recognition in order to help incorporate it in medical schools’ clinical skills.
The bill would also put $125 million toward identifying high-risk pregnancies and providing pregnant people with optimal care through pregnancy medical home programs.
“This bill is a step in the right direction toward addressing the racial disparities that exist in maternal care and toward expanding access to the health care women need during and after pregnancy,” Jones said.