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senate Bill S. 2586

MOM Act: Should the Feds Fund Grants to Study the Causes of Maternal Mortality & Develop Strategies to Reduce it?

Argument in favor

Maternal mortality in the U.S. is much worse than that of many other developed nations — and it’s getting worse. This is a public health crisis that must be addressed through rigorous study and federal funding to help develop a better understanding of its causes and a plan of action to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth and due to childbirth-related complications each year.

Argument opposed

While rising maternal mortality is certainly worrying, addressing this issue in a vacuum — independent of the broader health challenges facing women in poverty, with untreated medical conditions, or with inadequate healthcare access — won’t work. It’d be better for the federal government to investigate women’s health in general, with prenatal and maternal care as a subtopic of a larger study and resulting strategy.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedSeptember 26th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 2586?

This bill — the Maternal Outcomes Matter (MOM) Act of 2019 — would establish a grant program at the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support innovation in maternal healthcare, identify issues that affect maternal health outcomes, and train healthcare providers to avoid discrimination in the provision of maternal healthcare services. It would also make HHS accountable for these grants programs by requiring the department to submit a report to Congress on outcomes and best practices.


Pregnant women; postpartum women; maternal mortality; hospitals; healthcare providers; HHS; and Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2586

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced this bill to reduce the maternal death rate and improve the quality of care for moms both during pregnancy and after childbirth

“Roughly 700 American women die each year from pregnancy-related complications.This is unacceptable — especially when the vast majority of these deaths are preventable. My bill refocuses resources to provide better maternal health care after childbirth and ensures care is delivered equally, regardless of race. There is no reason why the United States should not be the leader in maternal health care.” 

Original cosponsor Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) adds:  

“It is absolutely appalling that here in the United States we have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. We can and must do better, and this bill is an important first step in addressing the maternal mortality crisis and preventing future tragedies. All women in this country, regardless of race or socioeconomic background, deserve quality access to maternal care.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports this bill. Its president, Ted Anderson M.D., Ph.D., says

“As leaders in women’s health care, ACOG is committed to eliminating preventable maternal deaths. The MOM Act is a critical next step in building upon the achievements of the 115th Congress to reduce maternal mortality and improve health outcomes for women in the United States. ACOG fully supports grants for improving innovation in maternal health, training health care providers to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, and delivering evidence-based approaches to improving maternal health outcomes. We thank Senators McSally and Jones for introducing this important bill and look forward to working with them to pass this legislation as part of a comprehensive package that also ensures Medicaid coverage for women during the postpartum period, during which one third of preventable maternal deaths occur, and improves access to quality maternity care for all women, including women in rural America.”

This legislation has one cosponsor, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).

Many members of the healthcare community have expressed support for this legislation. They include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March of Dimes, Preeclampsia Foundation, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Of NoteThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 700 women die due to pregnancy or delivery complications each year. In most cases, these deaths are preventable, and are due to poverty, untreated medical conditions, and lack of access to medical care. Similarly, a March 13, 2019, article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that about 800 women die during childbirth in the U.S. each year, and 70% of those deaths are preventable and caused by hemorrhaging. 

While maternal mortality is significantly more common among African-Americans, low-income women, and rural residents — pregnancy and childbirth complications kill women of every race and ethnicity, education and income level, in every part of the U.S.

In 2018, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. maternal mortality rate has risen over the past several decades. By contrast, maternal mortality rates in most of the rest of the world fell over the same period (globally, the decline was about a 44% decline in maternal mortality rates worldwide from 1990 to 2015). In 2015, the U.S. maternal mortality rate of 26.4 per 100,000 births was on par with those of Afghanistan, Lesotho, and Swaziland. By contrast, the maternal mortality rates in Sweden, the U.K., and Canada were 4.4, 9.2, and 7.3 in the same year.

Centralized government efforts to address maternal mortality have been successful in other countries. According to a joint NPR/ProPublica investigation, the U.K.’s centralization of efforts to investigate maternal deaths is largely responsible for a significant reduction in preeclampsia in Britain.


Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: / Srisakorn)


Maternal Outcomes Matter Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to improve maternal health care.

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