Addressing Maternal Mortality in Pennsylvania
Efforts are underway by state government to address Pennsylvania’s maternal mortality crisis. A hearing on the topic was held recently, legislation is being introduced, and the Department of Health is now more focused on the issue as well. 

The department has also begun implementing recommendations from the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which was established through a new law I authored (Act 24 of 2018). 

The committee is tasked with reviewing all maternal deaths, identifying root causes of these deaths, and developing strategies to reduce preventable morbidity, mortality, and racial disparities related to pregnancy in the Commonwealth. This information will help clinicians and public health professionals better understand circumstances surrounding pregnancy-related deaths and enable them to take appropriate actions to prevent them. 

I was shocked at how poorly Pennsylvania stacked up to other states in terms of the health of mothers and their babies. Forming the committee was the first course of action since it has been proven to work in other states to improve maternal health outcomes.

The committee issued a report last year that found Pennsylvania had an overall pregnancy-associated mortality rate (PAMR) of 82 deaths per 100,000 live births. The highest PAMR was among non-Hispanic black women at 163. 

One of the committee’s key recommendations is to build infrastructure that provides more comprehensive medical care for all pregnant and postpartum women. We also need to continue to raise awareness and encourage women to talk with their doctors about what they can do to ensure the best possible outcome for them and their babies.

I am proud to have sponsored Act 24, which is going to have a significant impact on the well- being of many mothers and children in Pennsylvania. During the current legislative session, I am sponsoring two bills that should also make a difference in the health and welfare of women, and all Pennsylvanians.  

One bill would amend the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law to make it easier for domestic violence victims to receive benefits if they are forced to quit working in situations where continued employment would jeopardize their safety. 

My second proposal would combat sexual exploitation that uses new computer technology. This “deepfake” technology allows for the creation of pornography that looks like the real thing. My legislation would make it clear that using this method to generate pornographic images without another person’s consent is prohibited.

I look forward to these measures advancing through the legislative process in the coming months. 

Representative Ryan Mackenzie
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
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