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March 20, 2019
ALBANY ‒ Legislation that would establish a review board to investigate and address maternal mortality passed both chambers of the New York State legislature unanimously today. The legislation, A.3276 (Joyner) / S.1819 (Rivera), will establish a maternal mortality review board charged with conducting a review of maternal deaths and proposing evidence-based recommendations to address the issue. 

Maternal mortality is a public health crisis with stark racial disparities. New York currently ranks thirtieth in maternal death rates across the country. Black women are nearly four times more likely than white women to die of causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. This disparity holds true even when socioeconomic status is accounted for, and while black women of higher socioeconomic status have worse maternal mortality outcomes than white women across the board, poor black women are at an even greater risk.

The New York Civil Liberties Union welcomed the passage of the review board, and urged the Governor to sign it expeditiously. The following statement is attributable to Executive Director Donna Lieberman: 
 
“There is no excuse for a state like New York in 2019 to have a maternal mortality crisis, especially one that disproportionately impacts black women. New York women and their families should not have to suffer when pregnancy-related deaths can be prevented.

“This legislation establishes a process for interdisciplinary practitioners to come together to study the gaps in care and racial disparities that lead to maternal mortality and make recommendations that will save lives. The maternal mortality review board is a critical next step in the legislature’s efforts to prioritize the health and well-being of New York women.”

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