. Group of pregnant women and women with children. Vector illustration

#MaternalHealthAwarenessDay: Three Policies to Push

By Joelle Boxer

Today is Maternal Health Awareness Day, focused on the theme “Access in Crisis.”

“Crisis” is the right word, yet still an understatement. In the U.S., for every 100,000 live births in 2021, nearly 33 pregnant people lost their lives. In Norway, that number was 2. Black and Native American women in the U.S. are particularly at risk, with death rates 2-3 times higher than those of white women, due to structural racism.

What can the law do to prevent these deaths? Medicaid pays for more than 40% of births in the U.S., covering 64% of Black mothers and 66% of Native American mothers. Examining efforts at the federal and state level, I highlight three options, leveraging Medicaid as a policy lever.

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