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NJ’s First Lady Launches Campaign to Lower Maternal Mortality

State Assembly also releases omnibus bill aimed at reducing number of women who die during or soon after childbirth

First lady Tammy Murphy yesterday announced an awareness campaign to reduce maternal deaths statewide.

“I’m looking forward … to ensuring that more and more woman here in New Jersey not only live through pregnancy but live through the first year of that child’s life,” Murphy said, as she introduced Nurture New Jersey.

According to the United Health Foundation, in New Jersey about 38 women die for every 100,000 live births. The national average is about 21.

“Of maternal deaths in New Jersey, nearly half, 46.5 percent, are African-American mothers. Almost 14 percent are Latina mothers. When combining these numbers … that’s over 60 percent of maternal deaths in New Jersey that are women of color. This is unacceptable,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, chair of the Women and Cildren committee.

Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal announced hospitals across the state have unanimously committed to reducing maternal mortality. He says they’ll work with a doctor who led efforts in California to reduce rates more than 50 percent in five years.

On Tuesday, a joint committee released a 14-bill package aimed at combating maternal mortality. It ranged from providing Medicaid funding for doulas to tightening protocols.

Assemblywoman Shanique Speight voted in favor after sharing her own story.

“My husband — his mom had him at the age of 18 in 1973. She died several days later,” Speight said. “So he never was able to meet his mom.”

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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