Murkowski’s Maternal Health Bills Advance from Committee
Today the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced legislation led by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski to improve maternal health, address infant mortality, and support nursing mothers in the workplace. They now head to the full Senate for consideration.
The Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services (Rural MOMS) Act, led by Senator Murkowski and Senator Tina Smith, will help ensure that new and expecting moms living in rural communities receive the care they need. The comprehensive text aims to improve data collection on maternal health, increase funding for rural care grants, expand maternal telehealth resources, and broaden training opportunities for healthcare professionals in maternal health.
“Moms living in rural areas are more likely to experience maternal mortality and morbidity than those living in urban areas. Additionally, maternal mortality disproportionately affects black and American Indian and Alaska Native women, with these populations two and a half times more likely to die due to a pregnancy related complication than white mothers. Coming from Alaska, these disparities – both geographic and socioeconomic – are particularly concerning, which is why I am proud to co-lead the Rural MOMS Act. Every expecting mother deserves the best care available for herself and her baby, regardless of where they live,” said Senator Murkowski.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, led by Senator Murkowski and Senator Jeff Merkley, provides salaried employees in traditional office environments with adequate break time and a private place to pump breastmilk. The bill specifically would expand a 2010 law, which provides space and time for hourly employees who are nursing.
“Being both a new mom and returning back to work after the birth of your child can be overwhelming, so supporting moms however we can has always been a priority of mine—especially when it comes to the health of their babies. For moms who choose to nurse, they need the adequate time and the space to do so in the workplace,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m proud to support this legislation to help keep Alaska’s mothers, babies, and businesses healthy and thriving.”
The HELP Committee also advanced the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, of which Senator Murkowski joined as a cosponsor. This bill aims to improve maternal health by enhancing evidence-based programs, such as the implementation of rural obstetric networks, maternal telehealth programs, and integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women. The legislation also includes provisions to promote vaccinations for pregnant women and infants, based on a bill reintroduced by Senator Murkowski and Senator Tim Kaine today, the Mothers and Newborns Success Act.