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Assembly Committees Hear Testimonies on Perinatal Issues

Seek Best Practices to Improve Infant and Maternal Mortality Disparities

During a joint meeting of the Assembly Women and Children and Assembly Human Services Committees Thursday, doulas, childbirth educators, maternal health experts, community leaders, and physicians gave testimonies regarding the link between perinatal initiatives and reducing infant and maternal mortality rates in New Jersey.

The committee chairs issued the following statements after the meeting:

Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), chair, Assembly Women and Children Committee

“As maternal health is a primary focus of our committees, I am pleased and appreciative that these experts joined us today. They are on the front lines of this issue and in the strongest position to tell us what is working, what isn’t and how we should move forward.

“Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately 700 women in the United States die each year while pregnant or during delivery complications. This is appalling. Just as disturbing is the racial disparity that exists among maternal deaths, including black women being more prone to die during childbirth than their counterparts.

“The testimonies we heard today will better equip us to help women have healthier pregnancies and births. Through education, partnerships and legislation, we can have a positive impact on the lives of women and children.”

Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), chir, Assembly Human Services Committee

“First and foremost, I want to thank all those who came and provided us with important testimony today. All of this will help us craft legislation to reduce maternal mortality rates across the state, especially for African-American women, who are currently at a significantly greater risk of dying in childbirth than white women.

“Having a child is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of a woman’s life, and every woman should be able to live the rest of her life with the happiness that a child provides. No child should have to live the entirety of their lives without a mother. In 2018, in one of the most developed countries in the world, hundreds of women should not see their lives end in childbirth.

“Today we heard from some of those fighting this tragedy, and I assure you as Assembly Human Services Chair, I will continue to fight with them.”