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Our Powerful Opportunity to Disrupt Persistent
Maternal and Child Health Disparities in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is ranked as one of the worst states in the nation for maternal and health outcomes and the worst for racial disparities in infant mortality. Rooted in longstanding institutional and systemic inequities, pervasive disparities have enabled our healthcare systems to repeatedly fail communities with the least access to appropriate and affordable prenatal and postpartum care, treatment, and resources, especially Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). For generations, BIPOC have been forced to shoulder racism in healthcare, particularly as it relates to pregnancy and childbirth, leading to the persistent inequities in maternal and child health we continue to see today.

 

To achieve maternal and child health equity in Wisconsin, we must meaningfully address these significant disparities and work toward dismantling the societal causes that underlie them. The livelihoods, experiences, and pain of pregnant BIPOC, new mothers, and infants have been left unaddressed for far too long. The Wisconsin Birth Equity Act is not only essential for beginning to disrupt these disparities in maternal and child health, it is mandatory. Here in Wisconsin, it is past time for equity in mothering and birthing

Black mothers are 5x more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy

5x

4.5x

Indigenous mothers are 4.5x more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy

2x

Hispanic women are 2x more likely to have a birth with late or no prenatal care

3x

Black infants are 3x more likely to die before they reach the age of one

2x

Indigenous & Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander infants are 2x more likely to die before they reach the age of one.

The Wisconsin Birth Equity Act aims to disrupt our state's most onerous barriers to child and maternal health, while also bringing awareness to these pervasive disparities. With innovative policies targeted at increasing access to full-spectrum care, financial resilience, and comprehensive insurance coverage, the Wisconsin Birth Equity Act is nothing short of groundbreaking. This bill package is a significant first step toward instituting actionable policy and system changes for Wisconsin’s BIPOC mothers and infants.

Link here to access the Wisconsin Birth Equity Act infographic with more statistics and data

The Wisconsin Birth Equity Act includes six separate pieces of proposed legislation:

Baby's Grasp

Provide an at-home wellness visit within the first two weeks of delivery

Pregnant belly

Establish pregnancy as a qualifying event for employer-sponsored health plans

Yoga

Mandate insurance coverage of maternal mental health risk screenings

Nursing Newborn

Remove sales tax on breastfeeding equipment and supplies

Happy Dad

Repeal Wisconsin's Birth Cost Recovery Law

Dental Checkup

Expand access to dental care for pregnant BadgerCare recipients

State Representative Shelia Stubbs
(D-Madison

State Senator
LaTonya Johnson
(D-Milwaukee)

Wisconsin Birth Equity Act Lead Sponsors

Additional Policy Recommendations

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For more information on the Wisconsin Birth Equity Act and how to get involved, contact:

Katrina Morrison, katrina.morrison@wiawh.org

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