Cephas, Curry, Mayes launch Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Reps. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.; Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware; and La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny, today launched the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus at a news conference in the Capitol Media Center.
Joining the launch event were advocates from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Community Health Workers and AmeriHealth Caritas/Keystone First, along with a series of other stakeholders from across the state.
The Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus seeks to address disturbing trends of Black maternal mortality and morbidity and pass the Pennsylvania MOMNIBUS, a legislative package modeled after the federal MOMNIBUS legislation to change the trajectory of maternal health outcomes in Pennsylvania.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Black Maternal Health Caucus as this is a subject close to my heart, a cause that I have been championing for years,” Cephas said. “We join forces to bring visibility to Black maternal health as a critical issue and cause of action. We want to advance legislation and solutions by working with our colleagues in both the House and Senate. One of the keys focuses of our work will be proper data collection, as initiated with Act 5 of 2023 signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro. Accurate and regular tracking is essential for comprehensive research on medical issues linked to Black maternal health. We need to fully understand the outcomes of all birthing people as we work to improve maternal care and outcomes.”
“The launch of the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus is pivotal in creating a narrow focus on the legislative work necessary to eradicate the increasing maternal mortality and morbidity rates throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Curry said. “This caucus launch is critical in bringing together Black maternal health stakeholders, policymakers and the experiences of Black mamas and birthing people to develop legislative protections, policies and change through our Pennsylvania MOMNIBUS package.”
“Black women and birthing people in Pennsylvania are two times more likely to die before, during and up to one year after childbirth compared to their white counterparts,” Mayes said. “Black maternal mortality is a public health crisis and we must take bold action as legislators and as a state government to make investments in Black maternal health. The launch of our caucus also aligns with our governor’s vision for the health of all Pennsylvanians. In the 2023-24 state budget, Governor Shapiro allocated $2.3 million specifically for Black maternal health demonstrating our commonwealth’s commitment to this critical issue.”
Cephas, Curry, and Mayes serve as co-chairs of the caucus.