WASHINGTON – Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) joined Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) to offer an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) aimed at addressing the maternal mortality crisis.
The maternal mortality rate in the United States is the only developed country in which maternal mortality rates continue to increase, while decreasing globally. This amendment prioritizes ongoing efforts from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to identify, characterize, and provide a deeper understanding of the maternal mortality crisis among servicemembers.
“As a member of the Ohio Army National Guard, I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside courageous women prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, but they should not be forced to sacrifice their health and the health of their families,” Stivers said. “I look forward to working with our partners, including the Department of Defense, to focus on long-term, effective solutions that get us closer to the ultimate goal of strong, healthy families.”
Stivers’ has supported several initiatives to combat maternal mortality, including the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018, the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2019 and the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2019.
These efforts include funding to address complications experienced by mothers in rural and underserved areas. This funding will be instrumental in improving telehealth resources and networks, solutions experts have proven to save lives and provide unique, necessary assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward, Stivers will continue working with the Department of Defense to improve initiatives with experts including physicians, epidemiologists, patient advocates, and others, to prevent future maternal deaths.
In Ohio alone, women died from pregnancy-related causes at a ratio of 14.7 per 100,000 live births during the 2008-2016 timeframe. Ohio’s pregnancy-related mortality ratio of 11.6 in 2016 was significantly lower than the U.S. ratio of 17.2 in 2015.
Ohio is currently ranked as the 26th worst state for maternal mortality, and the Ohio preterm birth rate among African American women is 49 percent higher than the rate among all other women.