Committee: House Health and Government Operations
Position: Support with Amendment
The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this supporting testimony with amendment to House Bill 247. The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.
House Bill 247 addresses an important issue – the health of women and the health of their babies in their birth; specifically birth by cesarean section by requiring the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC), in consultation with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Vital Statistics Administration, and interested stakeholders to conduct a study regarding the surgical birth rate in the State.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their latest Vital Statistics report (2017), Maryland’s rate of cesarean section was 34.9 percent, the sixth highest among all states and territories. This statistic is highly alarming as Maryland’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 29 percent; which is also above the national average.
Cesarean births come with the possibility of many risks, including maternal mortality caused by hemorrhage or increased blood loss, injury to organs, adhesions, infections, and reactions to medications. While the goal of the study is to examine factors contributing to the State’s surgical birth rate, it fails to list what those contributing factors may be.
The attached amendment would ensure that ALL contributing factors are examined as these are an integral part of determining the cause behind Maryland’s high surgical birth rate. Without examining the full scope of the problem, a solution cannot be presented.
It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference asks for a favorable report, inclusive of the attached amendment, for House Bill 247. Thank you for your consideration.
Page 2, line 3: after “examine factors contributing to the State’s surgical birth rate, including”, insert “previous premature births and to term pregnancies as well as post-term births, miscarriages and abortions, fetal distress, birth defects or abnormalities, chronic health conditions, substance intake and usage, cord prolapse, cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), placenta issues, carrying multiples, prolonged labor, abnormal positioning,”