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Advocates Call for Swift Action by the Legislature on Maternal Health in Special Session

June 6, 2017
Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202.734.6510

Advocates Call for Swift Action by the Legislature on Maternal Health in Special Session

Today, a group of organizations dedicated to the health and safety of Texas families welcomed Governor Abbott’s inclusion of maternal mortality in his call for a special session while urging swift action by the legislature. In a letter, the diverse group, which includes advocates for child welfare, mental health, and young families as well as health care providers, stressed the importance of extending the expiration date of the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to ensure continued research to reduce maternal deaths.

Maggie Jo Buchanan, Southern Director of Young Invincibles, an organization dedicated to the economic security of young adults, released the following statement on the letter:

“Over Memorial Day, efforts to pass essential legislation to address the fact that Texas is the deadliest state to give birth in were blocked because of political maneuvering over unrelated measures—an act that failed to reflect the seriousness of the problem. While many stalled proposals from the regular session to address maternal death and health disparities deserve passage, it is critical to extend the Task Force both to continue work to reduce maternal deaths in the state as well as to ensure that work is being led by our state’s leading experts on the topic.

The vast majority of new moms are between the ages of 18 and 34, and are young parents working to launch their careers and build safe homes for their families. They and their children are the future of our state. When these mothers die, it is not just a personal tragedy, but one for all of Texas—and one our state leaders must act swiftly to address.”

The Maternal Mortality Task Force leads the state’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity among Texas’s families. Currently, the Task Force is set to end in 2019, likely requiring a swift winding down of its work as opposed to clearly needed acceleration of efforts. For that reason, the letter explained, it is vital to extend the Task Force’s work until at least 2023.

Those joining the letter include: Center for Public Policy Priorities, Children at Risk, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, Healthy Futures of Texas, March of Dimes, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, National Alliance on Mental Illness-Texas, National Association of Social Workers-Texas, Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas, and Texans Care for Children.

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