© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut advocates show support for Black Maternal Health Week

State Representatives Treneé McGee of West Haven and Robyn Porter of New Haven
(L to R) Connecticut State Representatives Treneé McGee of West Haven and Robyn Porter of New Haven.

To commemorate Black Maternal Health Week, some Connecticut lawmakers and advocates are pushing for the final passage of a wide-ranging bill to expand access to birthing facilities.

Black women in Connecticut’s largest cities are about seven times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women, according to the Department of Public Health.

That’s why Governor Ned Lamont’s bill expanding statewide access to maternal healthcare is needed, said Democratic state Representative Robyn Porter of New Haven, at a news briefing at the state Legislative Office Building on Tuesday.

“The U.S. could avoid overall about 40% of the maternal deaths if all women regardless of age, race and zip code had access to quality healthcare,” Porter said.

“When they were going into our homes and traveling into our communities we were not only surviving but they were teaching women how to care for and nurture their families and their children,” said Democratic state Representative Treneé McGee of West Haven, referring to last century when midwives were more ubiquitous in the African American community.

The governor’s bill would increase access to maternal health services by licensing free-standing birth centers and creating a certification pathway for doulas.

It also directs state agencies to design a program that would provide longer prenatal visits and continuous support from a midwife through labor.

The bill is awaiting action in the state Senate.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.