Committee: House Health and Government Operations
Position: Support with Amendment
The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) offers this supporting testimony with amendment to House Bill 796. The 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 796 addresses an important issue – Maryland’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) and requests to form local teams to address the data found within; working to gather evidence that can be used to execute the causes of MMR at a county by county level.
While the Maryland Maternal Mortality Review Program (the Program) was established in statute in 2000 (Md. Ann. Code Health-General Art. §13-1203-1207) to identify maternal death cases, medical records and other relevant data, it lacks pertinent details to determine the full scope of Maryland’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) and the causes therein.
Racial disparities in MMR are staggering. In the U.S., Black women have an MMR 2.4 times greater than White women; and according to data from the Program’s 2018 Annual Report, “between years 2012-2016 White MMR in Maryland decreased 34.6 percent and the Black MMR increased 20.5 percent.” This statistic is highly alarming as 2018 U.S. Census data shows that Maryland’s population is 30.8 percent Black and within that number roughly 50 percent are women within a childbearing age. Without examining Maryland’s MMR data on a local level, proper resources cannot be provided to our communities addressing the unique needs of each.
The attached amendment would ensure that ALL factors contributing to maternal mortality are examined in-depth to purview the data and disparities properly. Without examining the full scope of the problem, a solution cannot be presented.
It is for these reasons that the Conference asks for a favorable report, inclusive of the attached amendment, for House Bill 796. Thank you for your consideration.
Page 4, lines 1 - 2: after “DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CAUSES ” insert, “INCLUDING REPORTING A LIST OF ATTRIBUTING FACTORS, KNOWN TO CAUSE MATERNAL MORTALITY BY RACIAL DISPARITY AND LOCATION; SUCH AS ACCESS TO PRENATAL CARE AND REGULARITY OF CARE, PREVIOUS PREMATURE BIRTHS AND TO-TERM PREGNANCIES AS WELL AS POST-TERM BIRTHS, MISCARRIAGES, 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, AND ABNORMAL POSITIONING.”