The Century Foundation recently released an interactive legislative tracker to help folks monitor the progress of the federal Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (the Momnibus). The Momnibus is a legislative package spearheaded by the congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus that includes a comprehensive set of policy proposals to address the racism and inequities at the root of the Black maternal health crisis in the United States and improve maternal health outcomes overall. The new legislative tracker includes key details about each of the twelve bills that make up the Momnibus, including bill numbers, sponsors, status in Congress, and a brief synopsis. The resource is unique for its interactive features, readability, printable one-page fact sheets, and beautiful illustrations of Black and brown birthing people.
The Maternal Health Crisis in the U.S.
Over 700 birthing people die each year in the United States due to pregnancy-related causes and an additional 50,000 – 60,000 birthing people experience significant maternal morbidities., The racial and ethnic inequities in maternal health outcomes in the U.S. are stark: Black women and birthing people are three to four times more likely than white women and birthing people to die from pregnancy-related causes; Indigenous women and birthing people are two to three times more likely than white women and birthing people to die from pregnancy-related causes . Findings from state maternal mortality review committees suggest that 60 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable; this fact is both heartbreaking and points to opportunities to prevent future maternal deaths.
A Growing Public Awareness
The Century Foundation’s new bill tracker builds upon growing public attention to the racial inequities in maternal health outcomes, which recently culminated in the first White House Maternal Health Day of Action hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris on December 7, 2021. The day featured a series of dialogues between advocates, lawmakers, and individuals impacted by maternal mortality and morbidity on the systemic factors contributing to the nation’s maternal health crisis and potential federal actions to address the crisis. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus featured prominently in the day’s programming as one of the key solutions. Vice President Harris called upon Congress to act swiftly to pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes major provisions from nine of the Momnibus bills.
The Latest Updates on the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act
The Protecting Moms Who Served Act (P.L.117-69) became the first of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act bills signed into law on Nov. 30, 2021. Of the remaining eleven Momnibus bills, nine bills were included in the text of the Build Back Better Act (H.R.5376), the $1.7 trillion “social infrastructure” bill that passed the House on Nov. 19, 2021. The Build Back Better Act is currently stalled in the Senate amidst ongoing negotiations, but it remains the most likely legislative vehicle through which much of the Momnibus could pass this year. Should Congress fail to move the Build Back Better Act forward, it’s possible that Congress could pass the Momnibus as a series of “stand-alone bills” or as part of another larger legislative package.
We hope you enjoy learning about and keeping up to date on the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act by visiting The Century Foundation’s interactive tracker. You can also track the progress of the Momnibus and other pending federal legislation to improve maternal health on AMCHP’s Maternal Health Bill Tracker.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021, February). Severe Maternal Morbidity in the United States. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/severematernalmorbidity.html.
 Peterson, EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths – United States, 2007-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:762-765. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6835a3.
 Davis, NL, Smoots, AN, Goodman, DA. Pregnancy-Related Deaths: Data from 14 U.S. Maternal Mortality Review Committees, 2008-2017. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2019.