The California Senate voted unanimously to pass the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act (SB 464, Mitchell), to actively ﬁght California’s persistently high rates of maternal mortality among black women. The bill, which requires all perinatal healthcare providers to participate in an implicit bias training designed to curtail the impact of bias on maternal health and improves California data collection to better understand pregnancy-related deaths, will be the ﬁrst of its kind when signed.
Over the last fifteen years, California has reduced its overall rates of maternal mortality by 55%. However, for women of color and particularly black women, the maternal mortality rate remains 3 to 4 times higher than white women—a disparity that cannot be explained by education, income, prenatal care, or other social determinants of health. A growing body of evidence points to bias as one of the causes of this disparity.
Earlier this month, sixty NARAL California members traveled to the Capitol to lobby their elected ofﬁcials in support of critical pieces of reproductive healthcare legislation, which included SB 464, SB 24 to expand abortion access to California’s public universities, and SB 135 to expand access to paid family leave. Over the next several months, NARAL will continue to ﬁ ght for the passage of legislation that makes reproductive freedom a reality for all Californians.