California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Momnibus Act, designed to improve maternal and infant outcomes and reduce the mortality rate for Black mothers and their children.
“Every individual deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth, and this bill will help make this a reality for more California families,” said Gov. Newsom.
“It is unacceptable that the maternal and infant mortality rate among Black and Indigenous communities remains significantly higher than the state average. California is committed to tackling discrimination and disparity whenever and wherever it occurs and with today’s signing, we’re doubling down on our commitment to both reproductive and racial justice.”
According to the CDC, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Several factors play into these outcomes including, quality healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias.
California has one of the lowest death rates nationally among pregnant women and new mothers. Still, Black women were six times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women.
The act will examine maternal and infant deaths, reinforce research, provide guaranteed income for new mothers, and even fund doula services.
“We know the what, we know the why–this is the how,” Newsom said.
“Gov. Newsom’s signing of SB 65, the California Momnibus Act, represents a significant victory for Black maternal and infant health,” said state Sen. Nancy Skinner, who authored the legislation.
“Despite our medical advances, more babies and mothers die during birth in the U.S. than in all other high-income countries, and these preventable deaths are disproportionately higher for Black families.”
California has pledged $35 million to help pay for programs that give low-income pregnant women monthly cash payments with no restrictions on how they can spend it.
Gov. Newsom’s actions are just one step in the fight to combat Black maternal mortality rates. Now will other states follow suit?