SB 356 — Health-Maternal Mortality Review Program-Reporting Requirement

Committee: Senate Finance

Position: SUPPORT with Amendment 


The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this supporting testimony with amendment to Senate Bill 356. 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.

Senate Bill 356 addresses an important issue – the racial disparities of the maternal mortality rates of non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White women as well as data on changes in the maternal mortality rate by race and ethnicity.

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.

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 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.

The attached amendment would ensure that ALL factors contributing to maternal mortality are examined in-depth to purview the data and racial disparities properly. 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 Senate Bill 356. Thank you for your consideration.