Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner’s Statement Regarding Black Maternity Mortality

Albany, N.Y. – Advocates and lawmakers united yesterday to recognize Black Maternal Health Week and call for action to combat this statewide public health crisis. Leading the effort Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Bronx, 77th AD) won Assembly passage of a resolution recognizing April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week and praised advocates for their work on the issue.

“Black women make up 42% of maternal deaths,” said Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner. “This is outrageous and we must get to work and establish the necessary measures to stop the health crisis that threatens the lives of so many women of color.” Focusing on improving health outcomes, Assemblywoman Joyner secured $250,000 for the Safe Motherhood Initiative as part of the current state budget. Assemblywoman Joyner has also introduced legislation, Assembly Bill A. 10346 to create a Maternal Mortality Review Board.

“Black Maternal Health Week calls upon all New Yorkers to wake-up to a health crisis that threatens our health and the lives of those we love,” Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner said. “A crisis is which Black women are nearly four times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts.”

Fast facts on maternal health in New York State:

  • Black women make up 42% of maternal deaths but only 17.6% of live births in New York State (DOH)
  • Black women die of pregnancy-related causes almost 4 times as often as white women in the state (DOH)
  • NYS moved up from 46th to 30th in the country for maternal deaths, though our actual rate got worse (18.9 in 2010 to 20.9 in 2016).
  • 67% of women who died of pregnancy-related causes in 2012-13 had Medicaid coverage.

I would like to recognize and give special thanks to the Members of the Women of Color Subcommittee of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus, NYS Association of Licensed Midwives, NYS certified doulas, BirthNet, Planned Parenthood, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG,) and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance for their advocacy and determination to end health disparities in New York.