Health and Environment Advocates Urge Congress to Protect Moms and Babies From Climate Change During Day of Action on Capitol Hill
September 21, 2021
To arrange interviews with below-listed participants, please contact Sasha Tenenbaum, Moms Clean Air Force, (917) 887-0146, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC – Today a group of health and environmental organizations, including Moms Clean Air Force, March of Dimes, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and A Better Balance, will meet virtually with members of Congress on Capitol Hill to seek passage of climate legislation that would make it healthier and safer to give birth and raise families in Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
The groups are calling on members of Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act, legislation that includes all eligible provisions from the Black Maternal Health “Momnibus” Act, which would invest in addressing the impacts of climate change–related maternal and infant health risks, as well as maternal health disparities and birth equity.
The coalition of organizations will be asking members of Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act with a host of important Black maternal health provisions included, many of which would make historic investments in Black maternal health and address the enormous and unjust health disparities faced by Black women before, during, and after pregnancy.
The Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act (H.R. 957/S. 423) was previously introduced by Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) as part of Black Maternal Health “Momnibus” Act.
In advance of these meetings, a number of spokespeople who are recognized leaders in maternal and infant health and environmental policy have issued the following statements:
“The Build Back Better Act, if signed into law, will transform the lives of Black mothers and babies for the better. It is high time we rectify the harm caused by climate change to Black mothers. Heat waves and extreme weather events are just two examples of how climate change can harm pregnant moms and their babies. Importantly, this bill will direct funding to Black communities to explicitly address these challenges. Today’s day of action is about putting our full weight behind the Energy and Commerce Committee for prioritizing the health of Black mothers and for recognizing climate change as the serious health threat that it is. We are urging members of Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act,” said Trisha Dello Iacono, National Field and Legislative Manager for Moms Clean Air Force.
“The causes of the high maternal mortality rates experienced by Black women in this country are unjust and demand immediate action. Without comprehensive strategies to address every dimension of the maternal health crisis in America, including reducing exposures to climate-related impacts, we will not be able to adequately address the maternal health disparities faced by far too many in this country. Today advocates from across the country are calling on elected officials to make vital investments in the health of Black pregnant people and babies,” stated Katie Huffling, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) and a nurse-midwife.
“The US is facing a maternal mortality crisis, especially for Black mothers who are dying at three to four times the rate of white moms. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 would make critical investments to improve the health of mothers and babies. One of the bills included in the Build Back Better Act package being considered now, the Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act, would invest in community-based organizations to mitigate climate change risks for pregnant and postpartum people. Now is the time for Congress to act, and March of Dimes applauds Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) for their leadership on this legislation,” said Stacey Brayboy, Sr. Vice President, Public Policy & Government Affairs at March of Dimes.
“At A Better Balance, we see firsthand how the climate crisis can have devastating consequences on Black maternal health. Pregnant workers across the country in low wage and physically demanding jobs—disproportionately Black, Latina, and Indigenous women—often work in harsh conditions and face exposure to stifling heat combined with few supports to protect them from that heat. Today’s day of action sends a clear message: As the climate crisis threatens to worsen an already devastating Black maternal health crisis, it is more important than ever that Congress make critical and comprehensive investments in Black maternal health and pass the Build Back Better Act,” said Sarah Brafman, Senior Policy Counsel & Director of the DC Office, A Better Balance
“The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) applauds and supports the inclusion of the Protecting Moms and Babies Against Climate Change Act into the Build Back Better Act. We know that it is maternal health, even before pregnancy occurs, that signals environmental factors as a threat to infant outcomes and to the woman’s own long-term health. The overwhelming evidence suggests that climate and environmental issues impact the health of women (and subsequently, their infants) and contribute to the maternal mortality rate in the United States—especially among women of color. We are proud to support this bill and ask Congress to act swiftly to make these vital investments in maternal health,” said Heather Maurer, Chief Executive Officer of NPWH
ABOUT OUR PARTICIPANT ORGANIZATIONS
About Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE)
The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments is the only national nursing organization focused solely on the intersection of health and the environment. The mission of the Alliance is to promote healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy. http://enviRN.org
About A Better Balance (ABB)
A Better Balance is a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing justice for workers, so they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. Its expert legal team combats discrimination against pregnant workers and caregivers and advances supportive policies like paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, fair scheduling, and accessible, quality childcare and eldercare. Visit www.abetterbalance.org for more information.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
About Moms Clean Air Force
Our mission is to protect children from air pollution and climate change. We envision a safe, stable, and equitable future where all children breathe clean air. We are a community of over one million moms and dads united against air pollution—including the urgent crisis of our changing climate—to protect our children’s health. We fight for Justice in Every Breath, recognizing the importance of equitable solutions in addressing air pollution and climate change. For more information, go to https://www.momscleanairforce.org or follow us on Twitter @CleanAirMoms, Instagram @cleanairmoms, or Facebook.
About the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH)
NPWH is the professional community for Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses who provide women’s and gender-related healthcare. We set a standard of excellence by translating and promoting the latest research and evidence-based clinical guidance, providing high quality continuing education, and advocating for patients, providers, and the WHNP profession.