On Tuesday, January 5th, the Massachusetts Legislature passed maternal health legislation aimed to eliminate racial inequities in maternal health, led by black women and centering black women.

We at YWCA SEMA are incredibly grateful for the leadership of Rep. Liz Miranda and her co-filers Rep. Kay Khan and Senator Becca Rausch. Join us in thanking the House and Senate for passing the final version of An Act to Reduce Racial Inequities in Maternal Health! Learn more in this article by Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).

The United States is facing a maternal and infant health crisis fueled by structural racism that drives significant racial disparities in maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. In Massachusetts, a Black woman is twice as likely as a white woman to die from pregnancy-related causes.

Black maternal health equity is now a top priority in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This legislation allows us to approach the maternal mortality crisis as both a racial justice and public health issue by seeking to understand both the socioeconomic determinants of health while also tackling the issue of racism head-on.

What the bill will do: H.4818 will establish a one-year special commission to investigate and make recommendations for legislation to reduce racial inequities in maternal health in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Members of the commission have expertise or lived experience with a majority from communities most impacted.

This important legislation is now headed to Governor Baker’s desk to be signed into law, and we need your help. Governor Baker has until January 16 to sign H.4818 into law.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Call Governor Baker
    Constituent Services Main Office (617) 725-4005; Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Below is a phone script you can use when making your call. Feel free to personalize it with why you support the Maternal Racial Equity Bill. If you are patched through to a recording from the Governor’s office, you can press 1 to leave a general voicemail.
    “Hi my name is _______________, and I live in (CITY/TOWN). I’m calling today to ask you to Please sign H.4818 for maternal health equity. As a constituent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I want to share my strong support for H.4818, An act to reduce racial inequities in maternal health, which has been passed by the legislature and awaits your signature. H.4818 addresses an urgent public health crisis! We cannot allow maternal mortality and severe morbidity to continue to rise unchecked. This crisis disproportionately harms Black mothers in the Commonwealth, who are twice as likely to suffer death or injury than their white counterparts. With no silver bullet solution, we need this Commission which will bring together stakeholders with the lived experience needed to sufficiently address racism and inequity in maternal health. I applaud the legislature for advancing this important bill for racial equity and maternal health and urge you to sign H.4818 now. Thank you.”
  • Email Governor Baker
    https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office
    Sample Script:
    Dear Governor Baker,
    My name is _______________, and I live in (CITY/TOWN). Please sign H.4818 for maternal health equity. As a constituent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I want to share my strong support for H.4818, An act to reduce racial inequities in maternal health, which has been passed by the legislature and awaits your signature.
    H.4818 addresses an urgent public health crisis! We cannot allow maternal mortality and severe morbidity to continue to rise unchecked. This crisis disproportionately harms Black mothers in the Commonwealth, who are twice as likely to suffer death or injury than their white counterparts. With no silver bullet solution, we need this Commission which will bring together stakeholders with the lived experience needed to sufficiently address racism and inequity in maternal health. I applaud the legislature for advancing this important bill for racial equity and maternal health and urge you to sign H.4818 now.
    Respectfully,
    Your Name
  • Tweet Governor Baker

    @MassGovernor
    Sample Tweet #1: Massachusetts needs maternal health equity & H4818 is an important first step. Please sign H4818 @MassGovernor #Equity4MAmoms #BlackMamasMatter #Birthequity #RacismNotRace
    Sample Tweet #2: In Massachusetts, preventable maternal deaths and severe injury are twice as common for Black people as for white people. Racism is a public health crisis. Please sign H4818 @MassGovernor #Equity4MAmoms #BlackMamasMatter #Birthequity #RacismNotRace

Anxious to advocate on your own? Join us this Thursday, January 14th at 8:00 pm for 8 Minute Activism: Sign the Maternal Equity Bill! Together, we will walk you through how to call, email and tweet Governor Baker. Sign up today!