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September 4, 2022

Pressley Hosts HHS Secretary Becerra for Convening on Abortion Care & Black Maternal Health

At Codman Square Health Center, Pressley, Becerra, Local Leaders Address Criminalization of Abortion Access and Black Maternal Health Crisis

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BOSTON – On Friday, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) hosted U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra at the Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester for a convening on their work to address the Black maternal health crisis and the criminalization of abortion care in states across the nation following the harmful U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health

Congresswoman Pressley and Secretary Becerra were joined at the roundtable discussion by local leaders, health providers, and advocates, including Black Maternal Health Advocate Nneka Hall, CEO of Codman Square Community Health Center Sandra Cottrell, Dr. Alisa GoldbergEverett HandfordDr. Teju AdegokeMichael CurryMelanie EgorinandDr. Renee Crichlow. 

“Secretary Becerra and I share a deep sense of urgency about these two public health crises – Black maternal morbidity and the nationwide criminalization of abortion care. I am grateful to the advocates in the Massachusetts 7th working to address these dual crises and save lives,” said Rep. Pressley. “We find ourselves in a moment of layered, overlapping crises, and it is imperative that our policy response center the voices of those on the frontlines of this fight. I’m grateful to Secretary Becerra for hearing our concerns and look forward to continuing to partner with the Biden Administration to confront these crises head-on.” 

“When it comes to ensuring that women everywhere have access to the full range of high-quality reproductive health and maternal health services, you would be hard pressed to find a member of Congress working harder than Congresswoman Pressley. I am grateful for her lifesaving leadership on these issues and many others, as well as the lifesaving leadership of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Codman Square Community Health Center, and local advocates,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting women’s access to high-quality reproductive health care, including abortion care, and maternal health care, and we can’t do it alone. We must continue to stand with our state and local partners as we work aggressively to ensure every American has access to the health services they are entitled to.” 

Congresswoman Pressley has been a leading advocate for abortion access throughout her time in public life and she serves as Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force. 

Rep. Pressley is a co-lead of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere. Last month, shortly before the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Rep. Pressley led a group of her Black women colleagues in writing to President Biden urging him to declare a public health emergency amid the unprecedented threats to abortion rights nationwide. She condemned the Supreme Court decision and called on the President to use every executive tool available to protect abortion access. 

Rep. Pressley is also a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and is committed to ending the Black maternal mortality crisis in America and affirming maternal health justice for all. She has introduced the MOMMIES Act with Senator Cory Booker to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for pregnant people and expand coverage to include culturally competent and community based doula care, as well as the Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act, legislation to improve maternal health care and support for pregnant individuals who are incarcerated.