On December 7, 2021, Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-02) attended Vice President Harris’ first- ever Maternal Health Day of Action at the White House. Congresswoman Kelly invited Cook County resident Anntoinette “Toni” Brown to participate and speak about her tragic experience with the maternal mortality crisis. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Congresswoman Alma Adams, (D-NC), Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Chiquita Brooks LaSure, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also participated in the event.
“It was an honor to attend Vice President Harris’ Maternal Health Day of Action yesterday at the White House. I’ve been working on policies to increase positive maternal health outcomes since first introducing the MOMMAs Act in the 114th Congress. I’m thrilled that provisions of my MOMMAs Act have been included in the Build Back Better Act, and that soon women in every single state will have access to 12 months of postpartum coverage through Medicaid,” said Congresswoman Kelly.
“Health equity is one of the most extreme examples of the structural racism that exists in this country.
Through the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis, it is plain to see that Black women and women of color in this country do not have the same access to quality, affordable healthcare. The investments provided in the Build Back Better Act will improve health equity for Black women and ensure that the birthing process is a celebratory time for mommas-not a tragedy,” continued Congresswoman Kelly.
“Yesterday I shared the heartbreaking story of how I lost my daughter, Arneatrice Brown, to the maternal mortality crisis in 2017,” said Cook County resident Anntoinette Brown. “What was supposed to be one of the happiest days for our family, witnessing the birth of our first grandchild, turned out to be one of the worst. We still don’t know exactly why Arneatrice passed away from birth-related complications. Yesterday’s event was an important opportunity to spotlight the maternal mortality crisis and talk to leaders in Congress about changes we need to see in our healthcare system.”
Congresswoman Kelly is a leader on maternal health policy and has worked to improve maternal health outcomes through her positions as Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a Member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.