The National Health Collaborative on Violence and Abuse, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Futures Without Violence, held its annual Capitol Hill briefing on Maternal Mortality and Intimate Partner Violence on Thursday, July 22, 2021. The briefing featured a diverse array of speakers from medical, advocacy, and research backgrounds and messages from Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, a tragedy that is only exacerbated by extreme racial inequities. Black birthing people are 3-4 times, and Indigenous birthing people are 2 times more likely to suffer maternal mortality than their White counterparts. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant contributor to high maternal mortality rates.1 in 4 women experience some form of IPV in their lifetime, with 1 in 6 of these women experiencing abuse for the first time during their pregnancy.
On Monday, July 26, 2021, Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will introduce the Protect Moms from Domestic Violence Act which aims to understand better the intersections between maternal mortality, IPV, and substance abuse; through conducting two culturally responsive research studies and investing in innovative programs. The research this act would fund will be critical in identifying effective prevention and support solutions to IPV and maternal mortality. In addition, the bill would provide $25 million per year in grants for providers and community organizations to build on evidence-based practices that can improve outcomes for birthing people. Offer your support for the bill here.
The home visiting models eligible for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding roles in reducing maternal mortality and IPV is up for reauthorization in FY 2022. Panelists advocated for its reauthorization, highlighting the continued importance of this bill in supporting mothers impacted by IPV. The home visiting coalition, which CWLA is a member of, sees a reauthorization of MIECHV as a top priority. The program is a prime example of prevention within the child welfare continuum of care.