SB 602 — Public Health – Maternal Mortality Review Program – Establishment of Local Teams

Committee: Senate Finance


Position: SUPPORT with Amendment


The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this supporting testimony with amendment to Senate Bill 602. 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 602 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.

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. 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 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 602. Thank you for your consideration.

Amendment One:

Page 4, lines: after “DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CAUSES ” insert, “INCLUDING REPORTING A LIST OF ATTRIBUTING FACTORS, AS ALSO EXAMINED BY TO CAUSE MATERNAL MORTALITY BY RACIAL DISPARITY SUCH AS ACCESS TO PRENATAL CARE AND REGULARITY OF CARE, 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.”