Congressional leaders have introduced legislation aimed at improving maternal health outcomes, especially for women of color.

Representative Alma Adams, Representative Lauren Underwood, Senator Cory Booker and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus have reintroduced a package known as the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021.

The Momnibus Act includes 12 bills to tackle the social and economic factors that influence maternal health.

The legislation includes support for community-based organizations, efforts to add diversity in the healthcare professions, support for incarcerated mothers and those with substance use disorders, and efforts to promote maternal vaccinations.

"As the rest of the world works to improve maternal health outcomes, skyrocketing maternal mortality rates here in the United States are precipitating a public health crisis -- one that puts mothers of color especially at risk," said Senator Booker. "We simply cannot continue to accept this alarming status quo."

9 of the 12 bills were originally introduced last March, just days before the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country.

The original package was never brought to a floor vote.

Supporters say there simply isn't any more time to wait to protect America's mothers.

"As maternal mortality rates continue to drop around the world, they are rising in the U.S., leaving behind devastated families and children who will grow up never knowing their moms," said Representative Underwood. "This crisis demands urgent attention and serious action to save the lives of Black mothers and all women of color and birthing people across the county."

The bills have more than 80 co-sponsors in the House and are endorsed by more than 180 organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, CVS Health, March of Dimes and Huggies.

We know the research: Black women in America are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Native Americans are more than twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

It's time for action.

Representative Adams says it's time to "ensure all birthing persons have access to high-quality maternity care, no matter where they live, how much they earn, or the color of their skin. The Momnibus provides a comprehensive set of policy solutions and a roadmap for addressing maternal health disparities. Black mamas can't afford to wait."

None of us can.