Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, joined Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, to release a new report from the Government Accountability Office on maternal mortality describing how maternal deaths are tracked, trends and disparities in mortality data and how federal funding is being used to reduce pregnancy-related deaths.

Carper and Murray requested the report in 2018 to determine how effectively federal investments were being used and what improvements could be made to promote maternal health.

“This GAO report confirms that we must do more to better address the increase in maternal mortality rates we are seeing in the U.S.,” said Carper. “It is simply unacceptable that, in the wealthiest nation on the planet, women are dying from pregnancy-related complications at a higher rate than any other developed country. We must be laser-focused on figuring out solutions to address the racial and ethnic inequities in our maternal health and support systems and how we can work to address them. It is my hope that this report will help serve as a roadmap of what we know about maternal mortality rates and, from that, identify what we can be doing in Delaware and across the country — at the local, state and federal level — to address this preventable crisis that is causing too much heartache for American families.”

The GAO report found that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6,700 women died of causes related to or aggravated by their pregnancy between 2007 and 2016. Rates are far higher for some communities of color, with non-Hispanic black women more than three times as likely to die than non-Hispanic white women. The report also advances understanding of how the CDC monitors these deaths and which Department of Health and Human Services programs are available and being used by states to address this crisis.

The full text of the report, “Maternal Mortality: Trends in Pregnancy-Related Deaths and Federal Efforts to Reduce Them,” is available at bit.ly/2UU3yHW.