Skip to main content
Full Menu Close Menu
Union Resolutions

Resolution to reduce United States maternal mortality rates

Union Resolutions

Whereas, over 70% of the membership of the United Federation of Teachers are women; and

Whereas, reproductive and maternal health is a primary concern for many of our members and the families and communities we serve; and

Whereas, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, maternal mortality is defined as the death of a childbearing person, while pregnant or up to one year following the pregnancy, from a cause related to, aggravated by, or irrespective of the pregnancy; and

Whereas, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is higher than most other high-income countries; and

Whereas, according to the Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics, this rate currently stands at 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births which represents a significant increase from 20.1 in 2019 and 23.8 in 2020; and

Whereas, a recent National Public Radio article on the CDC study cited the US rate “which is more than ten times the estimated rates of some other high income countries, including Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan and Spain which all hovered between 2 and 3 deaths per 100,000 in 2020;”

Whereas, the 2021 maternal mortality rate for Black women at 69.9 deaths for 100,000 live births is more than double the average rate of other American women; and

Whereas, research has shown that in the United States, Black women are also twice as likely to have a preterm birth (PTB), give birth to a low birth weight (LBW) infant, or experience the death of a child before age 1, when compared to white women; and

Whereas, the maternal mortality rates for people who are Indigenous, low-income and over 40 year old are also abnormally high in comparison to the national average; and

Whereas, according to the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the Commonwealth Fund and other national organizations have reported that many instances of maternal mortality are preventable; and

Whereas, lack of access to comprehensive, coordinated and respectful healthcare, the prevalence of chronic conditions, and inadequate postpartum support are among the reasons attributed to our nation’s high maternal mortality rates; and

Whereas research indicates that these disparities are symptoms of broader underlying social and economic inequities that are rooted in racism and discrimination; and

Whereas, the trauma that results from these incidents, while rarely discussed, has long lasting and profound impacts on our schools, offices, families, colleagues and communities; and

Whereas, In the latest data released by the DOE, 41.1 percent of public school students are Hispanic, 24.4 are percent Black and 71.9 percent are economically disadvantaged and their mothers of childbearing age are at risk; be it therefore

Resolved, the United Federation of Teachers calls upon healthcare organizations to offer ongoing resources, education and professional development for those providing reproductive care in effort to decrease maternal mortality rates, especially among women who are most affected; and be it further

Resolved, the UFT will work with educational, public health, and other organizations to offer resources and direct assistance to support educators, school counselors, social workers and psychologists as well as whole schools and communities serving people affected by maternal mortality; and be it further

Resolved, the UFT supports legislation promoting the expansion of birthing centers, particularly in communities where maternal mortality rates are highest, so that more women may receive quality reproductive care that is caring and respectful to all families of newborns; and be it further

Resolved, the UFT encourages professional learning and instruction that addresses implicit bias among staff and students, for instructional staff must be able to address implicit bias within themselves in order to teach students headed into professions where unconscious beliefs about different groups can create harmful racial disparities to treat all people equally; and be it further

Resolved, the UFT calls for increased research on the causes of these disparities and supports working with coalition partners to increase investment in efforts to decrease maternal mortality rates in the United States.