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
Indigenous mothers are 4.5x more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy
Hispanic women are 2x more likely to have a birth with late or no prenatal care
Black infants are 3x more likely to die before they reach the age of one
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:
Provide an at-home wellness visit within the first two weeks of delivery
Establish pregnancy as a qualifying event for employer-sponsored health plans
Mandate insurance coverage of maternal mental health risk screenings
Remove sales tax on breastfeeding equipment and supplies
Repeal Wisconsin's Birth Cost Recovery Law
Expand access to dental care for pregnant BadgerCare recipients
State Representative Shelia Stubbs
Wisconsin Birth Equity Act Lead Sponsors
Recorded Webinar From Partner Briefing on October 8th
Additional Policy Recommendations
The Birth Equity Act (BEA) represents a powerful "recipe" of novel policies that can help us disrupt maternal and child health disparities in Wisconsin. But BEA alone won't be enough. Here are a list of additional policies available now to advance in our State Legislature to help us advance birth equity!
Ban the Shackling of Pregnant & Laboring People in Prisons (SB 316/AB 398 - 2019)
Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Insurance Act (SB 596/AB 666 - 2019)
For more information on the Wisconsin Birth Equity Act and how to get involved, contact:
Katrina Morrison, firstname.lastname@example.org