Jackson, MISS – “Strong babies come from strong moms.” MS Black Women’s Roundtable and our partners said it over and over. We are, therefore, proud that our voices were heard, Mississippi legislators listened, and that our state has demonstrated a commitment to strong babies by supporting healthy moms, a proven factor in protecting the strength of babies. MSBWR is pleased that as a result of our advocacy efforts, alongside the efforts of our partners, on March 16th, Governor Tate Reeves signed into law the extension of postpartum Medicaid.
“The bond between a baby and a mom is worth protecting,” Cassandra Welchlin, Executive Director of MSBWR, stated. “This law will improve the healthcare, longevity, and quality of life for the women, children, and residents. For women, especially Black women with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates, care for pregnant people and postpartum is crucial for their overall health.” In Mississippi, 86% of maternal deaths occur after the baby is born. This law allows Mississippi to catch up with our neighboring states to cover health visits for moms during the first year of their baby’s life. “By offering a bipartisan solution to Mississippi’s infant and maternal morbidity crisis, a diverse collective of Mississippi health advocates successfully bridged the disconnect in Mississippi between overwhelming public opinion and a Medicaid policy driven by ideology,” said Roy Mitchell, Executive Director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.
Providing one year of postpartum care allows a thorough assessment of the childbearing parent and infant. It gives the mom more time to heal under medical care and the baby more professional monitoring during some of the most substantial early learning periods. This healthcare prioritizes the overall health of women, parents, and their children, thus benefiting entire families. It means more support for all, especially those moms recovering from complicated pregnancies and infants born with expected and unexpected deficiencies and parents working to provide basic needs for their families. Moms will not be prematurely forced to return to work because her employer-provided insurance does not cover the family after the traditional 6-8 weeks of leave. Because of this new law, women will still have access to healthcare.
“The Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (MSBWR) would like to thank all our partners that made this victory possible. To everyone who called state officials, advocated at the Capitol, and signed petitions, the MSBWR will never forget your countless hours and effort. You helped bring attention to women, parents, children, and Mississippians. Thankfully, all our efforts have paid off, and our state will be a healthier and happier place for it,” said Cassandra Welchlin, MSBWR Executive Director. And our work is not done. We know there is still much to do to improve women’s economic security in our state. MSBWR and its partners will continue to fight for fair policies that help strengthen the economic state of Mississipi women.
Contact: Ayana Kinnel, email@example.com