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Rep. Lightbody co-sponsors resolution to recognize Black Maternal Health Week

Resolution raises awareness, calls for action to address maternal health disparities in Ohio
April 12, 2021
Mary Lightbody News

COLUMBUS— Today, Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) signed on as a co-sponsor to a resolution that the Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus (OBMHC) is introducing to recognize Black Maternal Health Week in Ohio. Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17) is an annual event that promotes awareness and seeks to advance and improve Black maternal health outcomes across the country.

Rep. Lightbody and the OBMHC will also honor the week with a social media campaign that will allow constituents to learn about maternal health disparities and advocate for reproductive and birth justice for Black women in Ohio virtually.

“Ohio’s most vulnerable populations need to be protected,” said Rep. Lightbody. “This resolution is a step towards making sure Black women in Ohio have access to the same level of care as other Ohioans. The number of Black babies who do not even live to their first birthday horrifies me, and the fact that Central Ohio has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the U.S. clearly indicates that we have work to do. Black lives matter, and ensuring that Black mothers and their babies have access to affordable, high-quality health care will improve health outcomes and save lives.” 

Black Maternal Health Week this year comes as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues nationwide, leaving some pregnant people unsure about whether they should receive the vaccine.  While there is limited data available on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people, recent studies suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding people, and may even offer some protection for babies. 

The caucus’ social media campaign will include a day devoted to examining the impact of COVID-19 on Black maternal health.

OBMHC has introduced several bills to improve Black maternal health outcomes in Ohio, including:

·         House Bill 233 (Boyd, Crawley): Create the Pay Equity Hotline to address pay discrimination;

·         HB 42 (Crawley): Save Our Mothers Act to improve standards of maternal healthcare and address cultural competency trainings;

·         HB 142 (Crawley): To provide Medicaid reimbursement to birthing people in Ohio who utilize doula services;

In the 133rd General Assembly, Rep. Howse’s HB 11 to improve pre-natal and maternal health services was signed into law.

For more information and to see a schedule of virtual events for Black Maternal Health Week, follow @OhioBMHC on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.