January 30, 2020

State Representative Creates Maternal Health Caucus

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) announced plans for a Maternal Health Caucus to prevent future maternal deaths. - Darian Benson/IPB News

Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) announced plans for a Maternal Health Caucus to prevent future maternal deaths.

Darian Benson/IPB News

A group of Indiana lawmakers is creating a Maternal Health Caucus to help find solutions to the maternal mortality problem in the state.

Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis) announced plans for the caucus Thursday. She says Hoosier women are dying at an unacceptable rate. 

Data from America’s Health Rankings show Indiana has the third highest rate of mothers dying while pregnant or within a year of giving birth when compared to other states. 

READ MORE: Federal Funding Will Support Maternal Mortality Review

Summers says lawmakers aren’t doing enough to change that.

“We’ve talked a lot about addressing maternal mortality in this building, but if I’m honest, we’ve seen little action regarding this issue," Summers says.

For every 100,000 births in Indiana, 41 white women die. Black women die at an even higher rate at 53 deaths per 100,000 births. 

Summers says a caucus is necessary to bring more attention to the issue. Through it, she aims to create new laws that address patient safety protocols and cultural competency training for healthcare professionals. 

Contact Darian at dbenson@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @helloimdarian.

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