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Vice President Kamala Harris led a meeting of the full cabinet of President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss the issue of maternal health.
Watch Harris’ remarks opening the meeting in the player above.
“[Maternal health] is something that all communities are deeply impacted by and concerned about. But this is the first time that any administration has at this level convened the cabinet — the President’s cabinet — to address this issue as a priority not only for our administration but as a national priority,” said Harris.
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Harris said the issue of maternal health had “generational impact” and noted the United States has one of highest rates of maternal mortality among wealthy countries. There were also stark racial and geographic disparities in the risk of maternal mortality.
“We know that in the United States of America, Black women are three times more likely to die in connection with childbirth, Native women twice as likely, rural women one and a half times likely,” said Harris.
Harris said maternal health was an issue that needed to be treated holistically and involved issues such as housing and transportation and therefore necessitated input from all cabinet members.
Harris said the White House was also creating a new designation, “birthing-friendly hospitals or healthcare providers.”
“We are going to proactively look to how well the healthcare delivery system is doing on this very issue, and then designate those who are doing well and, by inference, point out those who have more work to do,” Harris said.
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