U.S. House of Representatives Passes Resolution to Reduce Maternal Mortality at Home and Abroad

WASHINGTON, DC – On May 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1022 "Reducing Maternal Mortality Both at Home and Abroad," a first step in a longer road toward new policies and more resources from the U.S. government to reduce maternal mortality and pregnancy-related injuries in the U.S. and throughout the world. H.Res 1022 states that the House of Representatives will make a stronger commitment to reducing maternal mortality both at home and abroad through greater financial investment and participation in global initiatives, and recognizes maternal health as a human right.

H.Res 1022 was initiated by Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and members of a Congressional delegation including Congresswomen Hilda Solis (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Donna Christensen (D-VI) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the delegation to London last October to participate in Women Deliver, held in October 2007.

Rep. Capps cited Women Deliver as an impetus for the resolution in her remarks during the debate on the resolution. Rep. Capps said, "I was proud to have introduced this resolution and to gain co-sponsorship from over 120 of my colleagues, including our esteemed Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In fact, it was Speaker Pelosi who first asked me to lead a delegation to the Women Deliver conference last October. Women Deliver was convened to address international maternal mortality. While there, we joined the nearly two thousand participants in calling for a greater investment to combat maternal deaths, which are preventable more often than not. Unfortunately, the current administration has withheld crucial funds that were appropriated to the UNFPA to improve maternal health through effective family planning."

As a part of this growing movement and raising awareness about maternal mortality in the U.S., on May 20, members of Congress and women's rights advocates, including UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and CARE Ambassador Christy Turlington Burns, rallied on Capitol Hill to raise support for H.Res 1022.

Additionally, in her remarks, Geri Halliwell called for the U.S. to release the $200 million in funds for UNFPA withheld by the Bush administration for the past six years.

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The Full House Resolution