California Governor Gavin Newsom is making another big change to impact mothers positively—specifically those of color. Today he signed a bill that could improve infant and maternal health. Bill 65, aka the “Momnibus Act” authored by Senator Nancy Skinner, will establish a committee to investigate pregnancy-related deaths as well as severe maternal morbidity, according to The Fresno Bee. The bill will also increase access to postpartum health care, doula services, and midwives for families.
In addition, Bill 65 also charges the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to provide training for nurse-midwives working with multicultural communities. To break it down, Bill 65 will have Medi-Cal coverage for doulas, extending Medi-Cal eligibility for mothers dealing with postpartum. It will provide easier access to CalWORKs, a public assistance program that provides cash aid and services to eligible families with a child(ren) in the home.
What’s interesting about Bill 65 is that it is establishing a guaranteed income pilot program that prioritizes low-income pregnant Californians. Statistics show that between 2014-2016, Black women in California were four to six times more likely to experience pregnancy-related mortality, compared to white, Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander women, according to a recent report from the California Department of Health.
In a press release, Governor Newsom stated, “Every individual deserves to have a healthy pregnancy and birth, and this bill will help make this a reality for more California families. It is unacceptable that the maternal and infant mortality rate among Black and Indigenous communities remains significantly higher than the state average.”
He continued stating that California is committed to tackling discrimination and disparity whenever and wherever it occurs, and with today’s signing of Bill 65, we’re doubling down on our commitment to both reproductive and racial justice.
Roomies, how do yall feel about this bill?
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