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CEO Ann Warner’s Testimony in Support of the Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act

by WREN on Feb 18, 2021

Statement provided on February 18, 2021 

Thank you, Chairwoman Brawley, and members of the 3-M Social Services, Mental Health and Children’s Affairs subcommittee, for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Ann Warner and I am the CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.  

On behalf of our organization, I am asking committee members to vote YES on H.3225. 

Pregnancy is a dangerous condition in South Carolina. South Carolina ranks 50th in the nation in healthcare for pregnant mothers and newborns. We rank 50th in number of midwives and Obstetricians / Gynecologists per capita.i Our maternal and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the nation, and both are far higher for Black mothers and infants.ii Alarmingly, Black mothers are more than three times more likely to die during pregnancy or in childbirth than white mothers.iii Black mothers are also more likely than white mothers to experience serious medical complications during pregnancyivThese inequities persist regardless of income or education level, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates that systemic racism and racial discrimination are major contributing factors that cause poor health outcomes for Black mothersv. These trends have persisted for decades and will not be corrected without targeted and intentional action. One targeted action we can take is to ensure that our healthcare providers who work with perinatal patients receive evidence-based training on implicit bias.   

WREN supports direct and intentional action to prevent maternal death. We already know it’s a crisis and we need to act. The Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act is a step in the right direction towards addressing the systemic racism that is plaguing the healthcare system. By passing this bill, we will demonstrate to mothers and all people in South Carolina that we value their well-being and their lives. I urge the subcommittee to vote YES.  

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