Federal Legislation

What is Maternal Mortality?

Maternal mortality describes the amount of death of women who die during pregnancy, childbirth or within the first year of giving birth, due to pregnancy and birth related causes.

What is the state of Maternal Mortality in the U.S.?

United States has the worst maternal mortality rate of all high ­income nations, and in the last twenty years has seen an increase in mothers dying in pregnancy, childbirth, and within one year of giving birth. The rising maternal mortality ratio continues to generate alarm and confusion. This national trend in maternal mortality is not an emerging issue: since 1986, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has administered the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, which has documented a rise in the national pregnancy ­related mortality ratio for the past three decades.

Why are mothers dying?

There are many factors playing a role in maternal deaths: poor access to healthcare, racial discrimination, lack of information about family planning options, and healthcare provider shortage, among others. Due to these barriers, the U.S. has many needed changes to reverse this alarming state of maternal health.

Maternal death for American Indian/Alaskan Native and non­Hispanic Black women is 3 to 4 times more likely to happen compared to White women.

Over 60% of maternal deaths are considered preventable.

What are states doing?

Some states are recognizing this problem and are taking steps to determine causes of maternal deaths by reviewing deaths or poor outcomes. A maternal mortality review (MMR) is a standard and comprehensive system primarily operating at the state level. MMR committees (MMRCs) identify, review, and analyze maternal deaths; disseminate findings; and act on the results.

Not every state has a Maternal Mortality Review Committee, but all should. If we do not know why mothers are dying we cannot implement change.

Several states introduced legislation to fund a MMRC, below you can find out if your state is one them.

What can I do?

  1. Use this toolkit and information available on March for Moms website to familiarize yourself with statistics.
  2. See if your state has a mortality review committee.
  3. Find your federal representative or federal senator here.
  4. Contact their office via email or phone to schedule an appointment with the Representative or Senator. If they are unavailable ask to speak with the legislative aid for health.
  5. Bring attention to the issue of maternal mortality during your visit, legislators must know this is a big issue. Urge the legislator and their staff to familiarize themselves with S. 1343/H.R. 2602 Maximizing Outcomes for Moms Through Medicaid Improvement and Enhancement of Services Act, or the “MOMMIES Act”, H.R.1551 The Quality Care for Moms & Babies Act, S. 3392 “MOMS Act”, and H.R.1897 “MOMMAS Act” to improve Federal efforts with respect to the prevention of maternal mortality, and for other purposes!
  6. Share a personal story! Whether you are a mom/family that struggled with pregnancy or postpartum period or someone who is passionate about the issue, it does not matter! Legislators and their aides love to get to know YOU! They are elected to serve your community.

Contact information for your US Senators is available here


Contact information for your US House Representative is available here


If you are unsure of your Congressional district, you can search for it here


Another good source for contact information is


Active Legislation





Promote and update maternal safety standards and best practices for hospitals. Create a grant program to help states and hospitals implement the standardized maternal safety best practices developed by AIM. Improve the CDC Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System to include reports from state Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) investigations of pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths and direct the CDC to provide technical assistance to State MMRCs to review pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated complications.

⇒ Introduced ⇐
Passed House
Passed Senate
To President
Became Law

Creates maternal mortality and family leave policies; resolves racial disparities in care; increases funding to MMRCs

Establish an equal opportunity “Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave” within the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide paid leave for 12 weeks for any family member for any family-related medical leave including maternity care.

⇒ Introduced ⇐
Passed House
Passed Senate
To President
Became Law

Referred to Finance Committee in Senate.

Referred to Ways and Means in House.

*Has 27 co-sponsors in the Senate and 133 in the House who are all Democrat; needs Republican co-sponsors*

Creates maternity and family leave policies; Resolves disparities in care; Relieves incidence of perinatal depression.

To reduce maternal mortality via

  1. Expansion Care Access to the Full Postpartum Period (1 year) for Mothers.
  2. Standardization of Data Collection and empowering a designated federal agency to collect uniform data.
  3. Ensuring the Sharing of Best Practices Between Practitioners and Hospital Systems.
  4. Establishment and Enforcement of National Emergency Obstetric Protocols.
  5. Improvement of Access to Culturally-Competent Care.

⇒ Introduced ⇐
Passed House
Passed Senate
To President
Became Law

Referred to Finance Committee in Senate.

Referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Creates maternal mortality and family leave policies; resolves racial disparities in care; increases funding to MMRCs


Passed Legislation

Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018 was signed into law by President Trump on December 21st, 2018. The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a program under which HHS may make grants to states to review maternal deaths, establishing and sustaining a maternal mortality review committee (MMRC) to review relevant information, and ensure that the state department of health develops a plan for ongoing health care provider education in order to improve the quality of maternal care. HHS is providing a total of over 40 million dollars in grants to existing MMRCs for the 2019 fiscal year.

Improving Access to Maternity Care amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to identify maternity care health professional target areas, which are areas within health professional shortage areas that have a shortage of maternity care health professionals, for purposes of assigning maternity care health professionals to those areas. HRSA must collect and publish data comparing the availability of and need for maternity care health services in health professional shortage areas and areas within those areas.

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law by President Obama on December 13, 2016. Included in this Act was language that addressed maternal mental health by way of federal grants to develop and/or maintain state and community maternal mental health programs for education, screening and treatment of postpartum depression. The grants will be given over a five-year period, with a collective annual expenditure of 5 million dollars, to no less than three states, annually.

March for Moms is proud to partner with over 40 organizations and growing. Please visit our partner page for a full listing of our donor Partners and Friends: