WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and seven of their Senate colleagues reintroduced a resolution to officially designate January 23 as Maternal Health Awareness Day. The resolution emphasizes the importance of raising public awareness about maternal health outcomes and promotes initiatives to address and eliminate its disparities. 

“The United States’s maternal mortality rate is a shameful outlier among our peers. The numbers are even more devastating for Black women. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented, and the first step is making sure every woman – no matter her zip code, race, or socioeconomic status – can access the care she needs,” said Murphy.

“The harsh reality is that the United States bears the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries, with Black and Indigenous people disproportionately impacted,” said Booker. “It is disheartening that over 80 percent of maternal deaths in our country are preventable, further emphasizing the need to take action and guarantee equitable and comprehensive maternal care for every individual. We must urgently create and implement policies that effectively address the maternal mortality crisis and make a lasting investment in our country’s families."

"In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called injustice in health “the most shocking and the most inhuman” of all forms of inequality,” said Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Founder of the What to Expect Project. “It was and sadly, it still is, especially when it comes to maternal health, the foundation of all health. That foundation — fundamental to a healthy future — continues to crumble, allowing too many moms in the U.S., especially Black, AI/AN and rural moms, to fall through the cracks of care, far too many to receive inequitable care that is neither respectful nor responsive. That doesn’t see or hear them. As the wealthiest nation in the world, the U.S. should also be the safest place in the world to be pregnant and have a baby, but we are consistently the least safe among developed countries. It’s time to make maternal health the national priority it should be for all moms and the babies they love. That’s why this January 23rd, the WTEP and I are proud to support Maternal Health Awareness Day and honored to work beside Senator Booker and other maternal health champions —and in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy -- in this vital call for both awareness and action. So that we can finally end our nation’s epidemic of preventable maternal deaths and injuries and deliver a healthy beginning and healthy future to every mom, everywhere."

The resolution notes that more than 50,000 individuals in the United States suffer from potentially life-threatening complications that arise from labor and childbirth, and recognizes community-based maternal health models that have been proven to improve the health of birthing people throughout the country. With one-third of maternal mortality cases occurring between one week and one year postpartum, expanding access to health care after delivery nationwide is a vital step to saving the lives of birthing people.

The resolution is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

The full text of the resolution can be found here.