Brooklyn Assemblymember Diana C. Richardson says that her bill ensuring pregnant women and new mothers are provided with information about issues and complications that could lead to maternal mortality has been signed into law.
“The journey to motherhood should be an exciting and joyous time in a woman’s life; but, all too often, it ends in tragedy,” said Richardson, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn.
“It is absolutely shameful that, in one of the most medically-advanced nations in the world, we continue to see women lose their lives during pregnancy or from childbirth,” added the daughter of Aruban and St. Martin immigrants. “This new law will ensure every woman in New York is given information about complications that may seem harmless but could put their lives at risk, so we can keep more women safe.”
“This new law will empower mothers with vital information so that they can make informed medical decisions and advocate for themselves. It is appalling to see such deep racial disparities in maternal mortality rates, especially in New York City,” said Senate bill sponsor Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.
“I thank my colleague, Assemblymember Richardson for her leadership on this critical issue,” she added. “We have addressed one piece of the puzzle with this legislation. I look forward to continuing to work with her and our colleagues in the Legislature to tackle this crisis.”
Richardson – whose district encompasses Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and East Flatbush – said maternal deaths have steadily risen in the US since 1987, from 7.2 per 100,000 live births to 18 in 2014.
In New York, she said the rates are even worse, adding that “there’s also a severe racial disparity, with maternal mortality rates significantly higher among Black women, who are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York State.”
“And, alarmingly, the inequality begins early in a Black woman’s pregnancy, with her legitimate concerns and symptoms more likely to be ignored, and the health care system less likely to offer her support or empowerment,” said Richardson, who currently serves on the Committee on Banking; the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; the Committee on Mental Health; and the Committee on Small Business.
“This new law would help combat this alarming trend by requiring information about issues that can lead to maternal death be provided to the public,” she added. “Ensuring that all pregnant women and new mothers are aware of possible complications is a basic step that may save lives.”