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December 1, 2022

House Passes Pressley Amendment to Strengthen Maternal Health Care for Incarcerated Pregnant People

Text of Amendment

WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s (MA-07) amendment to strengthen maternal health care for people who are incarcerated. The amendment, included in the Pregnant Women in Custody Act, adds support for postpartum health conditions including counseling services for those who give birth while in custody or prior to custody.

“Maternal health care does not stop at birth, and every person should have the resources necessary to support their pregnancy and postpartum recovery – including those behind the wall,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “I am grateful to my colleagues for passing my amendment to provide postpartum counseling for individuals who give birth while in custody and prior. We must continue to center the dignity of folks behind the wall as we work to affirm maternal health justice for all.”

As a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, Congresswoman Pressley has been a longtime champion of both reproductive justice and of radically transforming America’s criminal legal system.

  • Throughout her time in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has convened roundtable meetings with maternal health advocates and practitioners in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District.
  • In November 2021, at a briefing held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), Congresswoman Pressley delivered testimony on the growing racial disparities in maternal health and the urgent need to combat the Black maternal mortality crisis. Her full testimony at the briefing is available here.
  • In May 2021, she introduced the Healthy MOMMIES Act, to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for pregnant people and expand coverage to include culturally competent and community based doula care.
  • In March 2020, she first introduced  the Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act, legislation to improve maternal health care and support for pregnant individuals who are incarcerated, as part of the Momnibus legislative package. 
  • In 2019, she introduced H. Res. 702, The People’s Justice Guarantee ─ a comprehensive framework to transform the American criminal legal system into one that guarantees justice for all.  She also introduced the Healthy MOMMIES Act with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to expand Medicaid coverage for new moms from 60-days postpartum to one year.