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Gov. Whitmer Proclaims April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week


April 14, 2023 



Gov. Whitmer Proclaims April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week


 LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed April 11-17 Black Maternal Health Week in Michigan to honor the prenatal through postpartum experiences of Black mothers.  



"Black mothers in Michigan deserve to have access to quality affordable maternal and infant health care and a supportive, caring environment that leads to a healthy pregnancy,” said Governor Whitmer. “Earlier this year, our work helped Michigan become one of the first states to cover doula services, and we have consistently invested in Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies to reduce disproportionate racial maternal and infant mortality rates and ensure all moms and babies have the support they need. Let’s keep working together to ensure Michiganders—no matter where they live or who they are—can have a healthy pregnancy.” 



“We must work together to address racial disparities in maternal mortality rates and ensure Black mothers receive the care they deserve,” said Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist II. “Black women in the United States are nearly three times as likely to die from issues related to pregnancy and here in Michigan, we are working to eliminate that disparity. We’ve expanded Medicaid coverage for up to a year post-partum and in the 2024 budget recommendation, we proposed funds to implement recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force and improve access to health services. We’ve gotten a lot done to support Michigan mothers in every community and we remain committed to tackling this issue.” 



Annually, April 11 – 17 is recognized nationally as Black Maternal Health Week, founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, which amplifies the voices of Black Mamas and centers the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.



Black mothers are 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. While Michigan prioritizes maternal health, the state also recognizes the social and structural barriers that contribute to the high maternal mortality and morbidity rates for Black mothers. Michigan is addressing the root causes of Black maternal morbidity and mortality through systemic change, social justice work, mental health, breastfeeding and doula care support, along with access to equitable health services and programs.



Whitmer Administration Actions to Protect Mothers


Governor Whitmer proposed the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative in her 2020 State of the State address. The governor has since signed multiple budgets funding the program which aims to reduce the disproportionate racial impacts of maternal and infant mortality and ensure moms have the support they need for healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and postpartum care. In January, Governor Whitmer announced that Michigan became one of the first states to support expecting mothers by covering doula services, an addition to Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies. This followed Michigan expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full 12 months in 2022. In her 2024 budget recommendation, Governor Whitmer proposed funding for additional Medicaid health access and equity to improve enrollee access to services. She also proposed continued funding for Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies and $58 million to implement recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force, including neighborhood health grants, mobile health units, sickle cell support and more.



View the full proclamation.