WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12), Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), House Democrats, and advocates for a press conference this morning to launch the Black Maternal Health Caucus. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I want to thank Rep. Alma Adams and Rep. Lauren Underwood for launching this caucus.
“I’m proud to stand here with you today to make clear that the House ought to approach issues of health care access with a recognition of the unacceptable and tragic disparities for women of color and their children.
“In America today, African-American women are nearly four times more likely than white women—and more than twice as likely as women of other races—to die from preventable, pregnancy-related complications. We cannot and must not accept this.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Prince George’s County Health Department, over the last decade the maternal mortality rate for African-American women in Prince Georges County, Maryland, was higher than the average rate across Maryland.
“That’s my district, right outside our nation’s capital. We need to do more at every level—federal, state, local—to ensure that such disparities in maternal health are eliminated.
“This new caucus will advocate for effective, evidence-based policies and best practices for African-American mothers. Addressing this challenge will require a common effort to ensure that every mother has access to the best pre-natal, delivery, and post-natal care available.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues here today to make progress on bringing an end to these shameful disparities.”