EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, has been named chair of the Illinois House Democrats’ Women’s Caucus subcommittee on maternal health and will spearhead efforts aimed at lowering health risks for expectant mothers.
“An alarming number of women, particularly women of color, continue to die in our country during pregnancy and birth,” Greenwood said. “The status quo is unacceptable, and we have to focus our attention on taking action that expands health access and improves outcomes for all women.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. The CDC has suggested identifying and addressing implicit bias in health care, as well as implementing more standardized protocols in health care facilities. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html)
Greenwood has worked to lead on the issue in Illinois, serving as chief sponsor for legislation (House Bill 4) that aims to expand the state Medicaid program to cover doula services and home visiting services. The measure includes training requirements for doulas, including a requirement to complete a course on cultural sensitivity and implicit bias.
“Most pregnancy related deaths in Illinois in recent years have been found to be preventable,” Greenwood said. “We must push forward with recommendations from health experts that will reduce and eliminate these unnecessary tragedies that impact too many families.”