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Congresswoman Escobar Introduces Legislation to Help Address Infant and Maternal Mortality Crisis

The Defeat Infant and Maternal Mortality Act Would Help Address the Infant and Maternal Mortality Crisis that Could be Exacerbated by the Coronavirus Pandemic

El Paso, April 20, 2020

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced the introduction of H.R. 6533, the Defeat Infant and Maternal Mortality Act (DIMMA).

This bipartisan legislation authorizes the Department of Defense (DoD) to share with state and local health authorities information on infant and maternal health care practices in order to address the United States’ infant and maternity health crisis.

“Our nation and Texas have an infant and maternal mortality crisis that could be exacerbated by the unprecedented strain on the health care system caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Now more than ever, improving infant and maternal health outcomes requires coordinated efforts and action. The Defeat Infant and Maternal Mortality Act will allow us to take advantage of the Department of Defense’s lessons learned and critical, life-saving work to protect mothers and babies across the county.”

According to a 2019 report published by the DoD, the Military Health Systems’ (MHS) infant mortality rate between 2008 and 2018 was 2.51 per 1,000 live births which was significantly below the National Perinatal Information Center (NPIC) rate of 4.76 deaths per 1,000 live births.

From January 2009 to June 2018, the pregnancy-related mortality ratio in the MHS overall, including the direct care and purchased care systems, was 7.40 deaths per 100,000 live births and lower than the NPIC comparative rate of 11.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The Defeat Infant and Maternal Mortality Act is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), member of the House Armed Services Committee. “The Department of Defense has made great strides to safeguard the lives of mothers and infants during childbirth,” said Congresswoman Hartzler. “This common sense bill will help harmonize best practices for preventing infant and maternal mortality among health authorities at all levels of government. I am proud to be an original cosponsor and I look forward to working with Congresswoman Escobar to ensure it is included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act.”

This legislation is endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), National Women's Law Center (NWLC), and Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).

To view the bill text, click here.

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