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Lawmakers in state team up to focus on black maternal health

April 14, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Some state lawmakers in Ohio have banded together to work on improving health outcomes of African-American mothers and babies.

The Black Maternal Health Caucus was announced this week on the same day Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning abortions after a detectable heartbeat. Opponents decried the law as distracting from high maternal and infant mortality rates.

State Reps. Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse, both Cleveland-area Democrats, are leading the caucus effort.

Boyd said if legislators are serious about addressing death rates among new mothers and babies under one, they must focus on black communities. Ohio’s maternal mortality rates are two to three times greater among black mothers than among white ones.

DeWine pledged while signing the heartbeat bill to support pregnant women and babies affected by the restriction.

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