The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act will help maternal mortality rates for Black women
Once again, California leads the way for better maternal health with a new bill looking to give women dignity in pregnancy and childbirth, and to reduce maternal mortality rates especially for black moms.


It's no secret that the United States is not a terribly desirable place to be pregnant and/or deliver a child. Maternal mortality rates are through the roof compared to western industrialized countries, and particularly alarming are the rates for black moms.

And while we keep saying we need to 'do something,' it seems that just seems to be what we do--talk. Except there is a movement for helping women and mothers, and once again, California leads the way.

Related: California Proposal Paves Way For Six Months' Paid Parental Leave

California earlier this year wowed us with a proposed plan for six months of paid family leave, but they've done it again with a new bill: The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act in the California Senate. The bill hopes to make pregnancy and the postnatal period a safer one for women, and in particular, black moms as they are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white moms are.

The bill would have all hospitals, birth centers and clinics that give perinatal care go through with implementing an implicit bias program. All health care providers who give perinatal care in those facilities would go through the training and would be specifically trained to look at situations of implicit bias (stereotyping) when treating pregnant women.

Related: Experts Concerned About Postpartum Mortality Rates In Black Women

Black mothers find that they tend to be dismissed in their concerns, as was the case of Serena Williams who had a traumatic birth experience and said that her concerns were not taken seriously. She worried that if she, a famous person, didn't get treated as a valid birth team player, how else might other black mothers be?

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, who wants health care providers to update implicit bias training every two years. This consistent training can make a difference in changing bias toward behavioral and cultural situations. Weber says there is more and more evidence that women of color, and especially black women, are treated unfairly in health care, and that is not acceptable for mamas or babies.

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