U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly introduces "Cares For Moms Act" in bid to reduce maternal mortality rates

CHICAGO (CBS) — The United States is one of the most developed nations in the world, but when it comes to the maternal mortality rate – women dying during pregnancy or in childbirth – health experts say we’re failing.

The latest Centers for Disease Control data shows there were 1,205 maternal deaths in 2021, up from 861 deaths in 2020 and 754 in 2019.  U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) wants to help change that.

Kelly has introduced the “Cares For Moms Act, a proposal to boost federal funding for doulas, provide grants for mobile clinics to cover “maternity deserts” in rural areas, and extend postpartum coverage for mothers on Medicaid.

It also increases accountability for the government to make sure federal money goes where it is needed most.

“We want to see reports from [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] about where is the grant money going that has been allocated. We want to make sure that it goes to the places that really, really need it. There’s been reports that sometimes the places that need it most around the United States are not getting the money – the grant money – that’s been allocated,” Kelly said.

Recent studies have found the number of mothers dying of pregnancy-related causes in the United States has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

You can watch Kelly’s full interview with CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov in the video player above.

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