BOSTON– NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization, celebrates H4818, An Act to Reduce Racial Inequities in Maternal Health becoming law, an important first step in achieving greater racial and reproductive justice in Massachusetts.
H4818 creates a commission composed of public health experts, researchers, advocates, local leaders, and members of communities disproportionately impacted by inequities in maternal health outcomes to examine the root causes and issue policy recommendations for the state legislature to act upon. Racial inequities in maternal health are a serious issue in Massachusetts and across the country. Despite the Commonwealth’s high-quality health care system, Black women in Massachusetts are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, and also experience significantly higher rates of maternal morbidity.
“Reproductive freedom includes the ability to safely give birth and raise a family, but many Black and Brown women in Massachusetts face dire maternal health outcomes following childbirth because of systemic racism in the provision of healthcare. This must change immediately,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. “We need to listen and center the voices that matter most in this conversation, which is why I am glad the commission is designed to uplift Black and Brown people fighting to change maternal health outcomes. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is committed to listening, and working closely with the commission to ensure its policy recommendations become law.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts would like to recognize the exemplary leadership of Representative Liz Miranda, Representative Kay Khan, and Senator Rebecca Rausch for all of their efforts in getting this legislation passed. All three embody what it means to be reproductive freedom champions. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is also grateful for former Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Speaker Ronald Mariano, and Senate President Karen Spilka for prioritizing the reproductive freedom and safety of Bay Staters by bringing this legislation to the floor, and Public Health Co-Chairs John Mahoney and Jo Comerford for their strong support of this legislation.