2020 Advocacy

Congressional Briefing on Advancing Respectful, accountable Maternity Care in Medicaid

The United States spends more on childbirth than any other country in the world and has the worst outcomes of any high-resource nation, particularly for Black and Indigenous women. Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in the U.S. In the midst of the overlapping pandemics of systemic racism and COVID-19, there is a continued urgent need for respectful care and accountability so that everyone has access to the quality, equitable, and respectful maternity care they deserve.

The virtual Congressional briefing featured speakers who shared research and evidence-based models of respectful, person-centered maternity care that can be engaged to address maternal health inequities through Medicaid policy change.

Congresswomen Lauren Underwood and Alma Adams, co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus, offered opening remarks.

– Moderator: Emily Stewart, Executive Director, Community Catalyst
– Lorenza Holt, MPH, SPB, BDT (DONA), Co-Founder, Accompany Doula Care
– Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, University of California, San Francisco
– Kimarie Bugg, DNP/FNP-BC/MPH/IBCLC/CLC, Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere
– Ebony Marcelle, CNM, MS, FACNM, Director of Midwifery, Community of Hope/Family Health and Birth Center

March for Moms calls for collective action to dismantle racism and advance policies grounded in equity.

In response to the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade by law enforcement, March for Moms calls for collective action to dismantle racism and advance policies grounded in equity. As written in the recent powerful piece offered by Dr. Rachel Hardeman, Dr. Eduardo Medina, and Dr. Rhea Boyd, “Police violence, racial inequities in COVID-19, and other forms of structural racism are concurrent and compounding public health crises in the United States…the choice before the health care system now is to show, not tell, that Black Lives Matter. Because, like George Floyd, black people are loved.”

We are committed to ensuring justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Kira Johnson, Amber Issac and too many others. We are committed to calling out and demanding policy change to combat the anti-Black racism that is at the root of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, police brutality, and poor maternal health outcomes on Black families. Racism is a public health issue – collectively we must do our part to expose it, fight it and work to advance policies that dismantle it and create a more equitable and just system. 

Since our founding, March for Moms has been committed to lifting up the voices and concerns of Black women and families whose health care needs are often ignored by policymakers. Never has that mission been more important than at this moment, when Black people have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19 and now are reeling from yet another round of racial violence.

So, what can we do? First, we can make sure to listen closely to and financially support Black-led organizations that are at the forefront of campaigns against structural racism. 

Here are some great organizations to support financially and sign up for their newsletters today:

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

National Birth Equity Collaborative

Ancient Song Doula Services

Mamatoto Village

Common Sense Childbirth

Next, we can fight for public policies that attack structural racism, prevent racial violence and work to end inequities in access to health care. Examples include expanding Medicaid to cover birthing people, many of whom are low-income people of color, for up to 1 year after birth, ensuring access to doulas and midwifery-led care to safely support Black families through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. We will continue to partner closely with the Black Maternal Health Caucus to support the Momnibus, a set of nine bills that center the needs of Black moms and families through community and social determinants investment, diversifying the perinatal workforce, ensuring access to maternal behavioral health services, and holding systems acountable for respectful, anti-racist care. 

Please take action today to let your State and Federal policymakers know that these policies are imperative to enact NOW. 


 March for Moms, Every Mother Counts and Families USA, organizations committed to the development of the strongest possible policies to support the health and well-being of moms and babies, recently responded to the Senate Finance Committee’s March 3, 2020 request for information to help address our nation’s maternal health crisis. Even during the current COVID-10 pandemic, maternal health remains an urgent issue. Our comments identify legislative recommendations based on specific, evidence-based solutions to improve maternal health through Medicaid.