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Rep. Thierry, Shawn

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Representative Thierry Tackles Rising Rates of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in African American Women  print page

by: Rep. Thierry, Shawn
03/01/2017

HB 2403 will explore the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in the African American community.

Austin, Texas: On Wednesday, Representative Shawn Thierry (Houston) announced legislation to require the state of Texas to provide data on the underlying causes of the rising rates of pregnancy-related deaths in the African American female population.

"After reviewing the 2016 findings from the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, I was alarmed that African American women are disproportionately at risk of dying both during and after childbirth. While the report listed certain risk factors for all pregnant women, there was no explanation or information to address why African American women are particularly vulnerable. All we know is that African American women accounted for just 11.4% of all births in Texas during 2011-2012, however they were more than twice as likely to die," said Rep. Thierry.

HB 2403 will require the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to specifically study the risk factors affecting pregnant African American women. The task force will be instructed to compare the rates of maternal death based on socioeconomic status and level of education of the mother. The study will also provide data on cardiac health conditions, preeclampsia, eclampsia, hypertension, and other stress-related health conditions.

"With the advancements in technology, the rates of pregnancy-related deaths in our state should be declining. Instead, we've seen a sharp rise in the rates. As a lawmaker, it is incumbent on me to get to the bottom of these alarming mortality rates. I appreciate the support for this bill from prominent organizations that are invested in the health and well-being of our Texas mothers and their children, such as the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes."

"If we have a better understanding of why African American mothers are dying at the highest rate, we can implement better policies to reduce pregnancy-related mortality, including patient outreach and education, and healthcare provider training," said Rep. Thierry.

contact: David Glenn

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