On August 3, 2021, four congresswomen—Gwen Moore, Lauren Underwood, Alma Adams PhD., Ann McLane Kuster— and Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced the Protect Moms from Domestic Violence Act to create legislation manding the study of domestic and sexual violence as a social determinant of health.
This bill includes funding to support programs that improve maternal and child health outcomes for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) advocates for improved access to care as well as programs aimed to reverse the persistent and preventable. The urgency is clear given that Black, Indigenous, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are at two to three times greater risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than white women, and this increased rate of morbidity and mortality increases with age, according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
In a press statement issued by Representative Gwen Moore, she states that the rate of domestic violence amongst Black and Indigenous women is four times higher than the rate for white women, and the data indicate that 324,000 pregnant women experience intimate partner violence every year in the United States, “with one out of six of those women experiencing abuse for the first time while they are pregnant.”
She included a declaration of support from the American Medical Women’s Association, which reads:
“The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) supports all efforts to stop domestic violence, especially intimate partner violence against pregnant women. AMWA has for over 100 years worked to support women’s health and we recognize that pregnant women are at increased risk for abuse by their partners. This abuse causes physical and mental harm to both mothers and their children. AMWA supports the work needed to promote improvements in research about this topic and the development of programs to prevent domestic violence and support survivors.”
We applaud the work of these legislators and hope for quick passage of this legislation.