In a gridlocked Congress, a rare show of bipartisanship to prevent stillbirths

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., in Greensboro in 2018. Adams co-sponsored legislation to fund research into preventing stillbirths, which happen about 21,000 times a year in America. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By Billy Ball

May 18, 2024

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams from North Carolina partners with Republicans to fund research in preventing stillbirths, which happen about 58 times a day in America.

Stillbirths happen about 21,000 times a year, according to federal data, and they hit Black and Native communities about twice as often. Which is why members of Congress found some rare bipartisanship this week to pass the Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Alma Adams, a longtime Democrat from NC, clarifies that a federal block grant for maternal and child health can be used to research and prevent stillbirths.

Adams pointed out in a statement this week that researchers believe 1 in 4 stillbirths are preventable.

“We owe it to our mothers to reduce or remove the unnecessary risks that have made pregnancy unsafe,” Adams said. “All available data suggests we can make progress, and the Stillbirth Prevention Act will address this injustice so more mothers and babies experience a healthy birth and make it home with their families.”

This legislation is significant across the United States. Few industrialized countries have as high a maternal death rate as the US, and the numbers are even worse for Black women, who are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. The problem’s even worse in NC.

For more of our coverage of Black maternal health in NC, click here.


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  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.



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