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Join the Movement to #Act2SaveMoms!

More women in the U.S. die from complications related to pregnancy than in any other developed country. To address this alarming fact, the Preeclampsia Foundation has launched a grassroots campaign to secure support for bipartisan legislation titled the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017, H.R.1318, and the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017, S.1112.

Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, these bipartisan bills aim to help states establish or improve their maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs) – interdisciplinary groups of local experts in maternal, infant, and public health – to examine maternal death cases and identify locally-relevant ways to prevent future deaths.

“As a driving force behind these bills,” said Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, “we’re focusing this year’s awareness campaign – #Act2SaveMoms – on encouraging supporters to ask Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor these critically important bills.”

The U.S. ranks 47th globally for its maternal mortality rate, and women die every day in the U.S. due to complications from childbirth. Preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal death, and for every death, there are at least 50 times more cases of adverse outcomes. Significant health disparities exist in the U.S.: black women are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication like preeclampsia than white women.

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act and Maternal Health Accountability Act seek to mitigate these statistics by supporting MMRCs and promoting national information-sharing through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that states can continue to learn from best practices and collaborate with each other.

Your Representative and Senators need to hear from you and your family to understand why it is necessary to identify proactive solutions to ensure no more moms or babies die from preeclampsia or other complications of pregnancy. These bills will support states in identifying the root causes of maternal death and severe morbidity. As a constituent, you have a powerful story to tell about your own experience, whether you have lost a loved one during the pre- or post-natal period, or whether your health and your baby's health were threatened by preeclampsia, eclampsia, or HELLP syndrome.

Now we need your help to put an end to preventable maternal deaths! Please act to save moms by doing these two things to move this legislation forward -- call and email your Representative and Senators today!

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN ACT TODAY TO SAVE MOMS

  • View a copy of the Preeclampsia Foundation's letter of support.
  • See if your Representative or Senators are cosponsors (to the right).

ACTION NEEDED

  • Identify your Representative at www.house.gov by your address and zip code, and your Senators at www.senate.gov by state.
  • If your Representative or Senators are not already cosponsoring the bills, call their offices and ask to speak to the health legislative assistant. Tell that staffer that you would like your Representative or Senator to cosponsor H.R.1318 and S.1112.
  • In addition to calling your Representative, contact the House members found HERE if you live in the state where they are from (as noted). This list includes the members of Congress who serve on the congressional committee that ultimately decides whether or not the legislation will move forward toward passage.
  • For the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, contact Senators found HERE if you live in a state they represent (as noted). This committee is key to advancing the Senate legislation.
  • Ask the staff members you speak with for their email address. Send them a short email (template below) following your call that is addressed to the Representative or Senator. Personalize this email to tell your story and the story of your loved ones.
  • After you talk to the office, look up their Congressional website, find their Twitter address, and tweet the following message to their address: "@[Member of Congress Twitter Address] join @Preeclampsia & stop maternal death in the US. Support HR1318 and S1112 #Act2SaveMoms."

WHAT'S THE MESSAGE DURING MY CALL

  • I am calling to ask for the Representative/Senator to cosponsor H.R.1318/S.1112. This is a bipartisan bill that would support our state in putting an end to preventable maternal deaths.
  • In the United States, maternal deaths during pregnancy, delivery, and in the postpartum period have been on the rise from health conditions like preeclampsia. The purpose of the legislation is to understand why maternal deaths happen in our state and support the state in identifying solutions to ensure no mother or baby ever dies from preventable circumstances.
  • This bill is important to me because [SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE OR THE EXPERIENCE OF SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU].
  • I will send you a follow-up email. Please consider cosponsoring this important legislation. Thank you.

WHAT SHOULD I SAY IN MY EMAIL

Personalize this draft template email and EMAIL it (don't mail it) to the person you spoke with in the office:

 

Supports State Maternal Mortality Review Committees

Bipartisan legislation promotes state maternal mortality review committees

March 2, 2017 — Washington DC — The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Preeclampsia Foundation announce their endorsement of new bipartisan legislation introduced on March 2, 2017, that will allow states to address preventable maternal deaths and the devastating and costly health consequences that threaten the lives of moms and babies across the country.

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017 (H.R. 1318) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA), and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO).

“We’re very pleased to provide joint leadership with ACOG for this effort and thank these members of Congress for introducing legislation that will drastically reduce maternal death and disability across the United States,” said Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation.

The statistics on maternal death are staggering. The United States ranks 47th globally for its maternal mortality rate and the maternal death rate continues to rise despite major advancements in medical technology and treatments. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act addresses the problem by recognizing that the first step forward is to tackle this national issue at the local level by helping states set up maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs).

“Our nation’s ob-gyns are extremely concerned by the alarming rates of maternal death in the United States, especially among communities of color, but we know MMRCs are a key component to reversing this trend,” said Thomas M. Gellhaus, MD, president of ACOG. “This legislation will allow us to understand what is driving these tragic incidents by providing the needed funding to create review committees that will collect standardized data in order to inform effective and cost-saving solutions that fit each community.”

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act will support states in establishing or expanding their mortality review efforts and promote national information sharing through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so they can continue to learn from each other and collaborate as needed.

“Prevention requires an understanding of the causes of women dying,” said Thomas Easterling, MD, director of the Preeclampsia Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board and professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Washington. “Careful maternal mortality review identifies these causes and in doing so, identifies what actions states can take to address them. Without review, we do not acknowledge these women and the loss they represent to their families and communities. We dishonor their loss of life and miss the opportunity to protect their sisters and daughters.”

Recent studies have shown that at least 41 percent of maternal deaths were likely preventable and yet preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are still a leading cause of maternal and infant death and severe health consequences. Every year, up to 300,000 pregnant or postpartum women develop a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, with approximately 75,000 of them suffering organ failure, massive blood loss, permanent disability, premature birth, or death and/or death of their babies. Congress consistently invests to reduce infant mortality. The same investment needs to be made to help save the lives of the nation’s mothers.

Notable Quotes

"'Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.' This statement was made by the Renaissance scientist Galileo and remains true 450 years later. We cannot correct or establish priorities to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity unless we can identify targets by determining the magnitude of the problem. I was made abundantly aware of this when I chaired the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology Task Force on Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy in 2013. We were fortunate to have access to a remarkable quantitative and descriptive summary of recent maternal mortality and morbidity from California. What was evident from this, which would not have been without this information, was that past efforts to have care providers carefully (and unfortunately rigidly) define the pregnancy hypertensive disorder, preeclampsia, had unintended consequences. Preeclampsia is the most serious (deadly) form of hypertension in pregnancy. It affects many organs of the body including the kidney with resulting leakage of protein into the urine. For over 100 years the presence of protein in the urine was used to separate preeclampsia from other less serious high blood pressure problems that did not mandate delivery – despite the knowledge that other organs could be affected. What the California information showed was that some care providers were rigidly demanding protein in urine in women with pregnancy hypertension and did not deliver women without this finding even if they were seriously ill with body organs other than the kidney involved. Based on this the Task Force changed the diagnosis of preeclampsia to be high blood pressure and protein in urine or evidence of other organs being involved. Lives are now being saved by this change. This problem, as well as many others, would not have been recognized without accurate determination of what leads to deaths of mothers in pregnancy – a family disaster that must be prevented."

James M. Roberts, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Magee-Womens Research Institute

“Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal and neonatal complications. We are only beginning to understand the causes of preeclampsia, but recent studies have led to significant insight into the early pregnancy mechanisms that may be involved. When we understand the mechanisms, we can design intelligent interventions to prevent preeclampsia, which not only will improve the health of mothers and babies, it will also improve the long-term health of our population. Improving healthcare efficiency depends on major breakthroughs in research to prevent common diseases like preeclampsia."

Terry K. Morgan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University

“The death of a mother in childbirth cannot be a silent event. We desperately need a national committee to track trends in causes of death and to find any human error that might be corrected to prevent another tragedy.”

Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Washington

"As a physician, I lend my unconditional support to this bill which emphasizes the value of every woman's life. As a pediatrician, I advocate for not only the reduction in maternal mortality, but also the reduction in neonatal morbidity (i.e. prematurity) and mortality. I am confident that novel insights that link the etiology of preeclampsia to existing conditions with compromised renal perfusion (e.g., cardiorenal syndrome and obesity-related hypertension) are on the verge of revolutionizing prediction and prevention techniques for women vulnerable to this condition. Our collective efforts, advocacy, and resource allocation can only enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our compassion-driven mission."

David Reuter, MD, PhD, FAAP, Director, Cardiac Innovations, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Seattle Children’s Hospital
 

"For most women, pregnancy is a time of joy and expectations fulfilled by the safe birth of a child into an expanded family. Beneath this surface of successful motherhood are dangers to a woman’s life and health paralleled by dangers to the unborn and newborn child. Some women carry identifiable risk factors into a pregnancy associated with preexisting and identifiable medical conditions. Others enter pregnancy with the appearance of health only to develop rapidly accelerating conditions such as hypertension or postpartum hemorrhage resulting in their death. Many, if not most, of these deaths are preventable. Prevention requires an understanding of the causes of women dying.  Careful maternal mortality review identifies these and in doing so identifies local community, state-by-state, action points. Without maternal mortality review we do not have appropriate action points for local communities.  Without community review we do not see these women and the loss they represent to their families and communities. We dishonor their loss of life and miss the opportunity to protect their sisters and daughters."

Thomas R. Easterling, MD, Professor, Maternal Fetal Medicine, University of Washington

"One of the biggest challenges to understanding and reducing the U.S. maternal mortality rate is the lack of comprehensive data; standardized data collection will enable identification of specific issues that challenge maternal health, and will inform strategies to reduce both maternal and neonatal mortality."

 Mary Wallingford, MAT, PhD, Giachelli Lab, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington

H.R. 1318 COSPONSORS

 

Sponsor

  • Rep. Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA-3]

Original Cosponsors

  • Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13]
  • Rep. Costello, Ryan A. [R-PA-6]
  • Rep. DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1]

Cosponsors

  • Rep. Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D-CA-40]
  • Rep. Cicilline, David N. [D-RI-1]
  • Rep. Cooper, Jim [D-TN-5]
  • Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]
  • Rep. Rush, Bobby L. [D-IL-1]
  • Rep. Marshall, Roger W. [R-KS-1]
  • Rep. Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4]
  • Rep. Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35]
  • Rep. Coffman, Mike [R-CO-6]
  • Rep. Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [D-MD-2]
  • Rep. Cartwright, Matt [D-PA-17]
  • Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]
  • Rep. Kennedy, Joseph P., III [D-MA-4]
  • Rep. Heck, Denny [D-WA-10]
  • Rep. Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15]
  • Rep. Lewis, John [D-GA-5]
  • Rep. Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [D-GA-2]
  • Rep. Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14]
  • Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
  • Rep. Esty, Elizabeth H. [D-CT-5]
  • Rep. Thompson, Mike [D-CA-5]
  • Rep. Nolan, Richard M. [D-MN-8]
  • Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1]
  • Rep. Raskin, Jamie [D-MD-8]
  • Rep. Himes, James A. [D-CT-4]
  • Rep. Rosen, Jacky [D-NV-3]
  • Rep. Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS-2]
  • Rep. Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL-3]
  • Rep. Aguilar, Pete [D-CA-31]
  • Rep. Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-16]
  • Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [D-WA-1]
  • Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3]
  • Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18]
  • Rep. Courtney, Joe [D-CT-2]
  • Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1]
  • Rep. Walz, Timothy J. [D-MN-1]
  • Rep. Murphy, Stephanie N. [D-FL-7]
  • Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]
  • Rep. Schneider, Bradley Scott [D-IL-10]
  • Rep. Pingree, Chelle [D-ME-1]
  • Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]
  • Rep. O'Rouke, Beto [D-TX-16]
  • Rep. Lujan, Ben Ray [D-NM-3]
  • Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]
  • Rep. Scott, David [D-GA-13]
  • Rep. Lynch, Stephen F. [D-MA-8]
  • Rep. Norcross, Donald [D-NJ-1]
  • Rep. Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15]
  • Rep. Boyle, Brendan F. [D-PA-13]
  • Rep. Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]
  • Rep. Blunt Rochester, Lisa [D-DE-At Large]
  • Rep. Moulton, Seth [D-MA-6]
  • Rep. Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA-6]
  • Rep. Brooks, Susan W. [R-IN-5]
  • Rep. Lance, Leonard [R-NJ-7]
  • Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]
  • Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI-2]
  • Rep. Carson, Andre [D-IN-7]
  • Rep. Stivers, Steve [R-OH-15]
  • Rep. Kelly, Robin L. [D-IL-2]
  • Rep. Stefanik, Elise M. [R-NY-21]
  • Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24]
  • Rep. Panetta, Jimmy [D-CA-20]
  • Rep. Waters, Maxine [D-CA-43]
  • Rep. Valadao, David G. [R-CA-21]
  • Rep. Green, Al [D-TX-9]
  • Rep. Paulsen, Erik [R-MN-3]
  • Rep. Donovan, Daniel M., Jr. [R-NY-11]
  • Rep. Knight, Stephen [R-CA-25]
  • Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA-14]
  • Rep. Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM-1]
  • Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47]
  • Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-8]
  • Rep. Poliquin, Bruce [R-ME-2]
  • Rep. Denham, Jeff [R-CA-10]
  • Rep. Connolly, Gerald E. [D-VA-11]
  • Rep. Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [D-GA-4]
  • Rep. Krishnamoorthi, Raja [D-IL-8]
  • Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26]
  • Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]
  • Rep. Meehan, Patrick [R-PA-7]
  • Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12]
  • Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20]
  • Rep. Culberson, John Abney [R-TX-7]
  • Rep. Dingell, Debbie [D-MI-12]
  • Rep. O'Halleran, Tom [D-AZ-1]
  • Rep. Dent, Charles W. [R-PA-15]
  • Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17]
  • Rep. Joyce, David P. [R-OH-14]
  • Rep. Larson, John B. [D-CT-1]
  • Rep. Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH-1]
  • Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]
  • Rep. Levin, Sander M. [D-MI-9]
  • Rep. Crowley, Joseph [D-NY-14]
  • Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13]
  • Rep. Yarmuth, John A. [D-KY-3]
  • Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3]
  • Rep. Collins, Chris [R-NY-27]
  • Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23]
  • Rep. Rice, Kathleen M. [D-NY-4]
  • Rep. Bacon, Don [R-NE-2]
  • Rep. Chu, Judy [D-CA-27]
  • Rep. Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28]
  • Rep. Fortenberry, Jeff [R-NE-1]
  • Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9]
  • Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2]
  • Rep. Brown, Anthony G. [D-MD-4]

S.1112 COSPONSORS

 

Sponsor

  • Sen. Heitkamp, Heidi [D-ND]
  • Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV]

Cosponsors

  • Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ]
  • Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]
  • Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH]
  • Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]
  • Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL]
  • Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]
  • Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]
  • Sen. Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD]
  • Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
  • Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA]
  • Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]
  • Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]
  • Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI]
  • Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]
  • Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT]
  • Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]
  • Sen. Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]
  • Sen. Smith, Tina [D-MN]

National Media Conversation

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