Maternal Health Bias

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Sen. Holly Mitchell’s SB 464 would require implicit bias training for doctors and nurses treating pregnant women, to improve awareness of the impact racial bias has on maternal and infant health. The bill would also require maternal deaths to be registered more consistently on death certificates.

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

SB 464 is co-sponsored by ACT for Women and Girls, Black Women for Wellness and the Western Center on Law & Poverty, among others. It also is supported by the influential California Hospital Association, nurses, midwives and MomsRising, a multicultural organization with more than 1 million members.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

The bill has no formal opposition, but doctors have raised concerns about implementation of the training.  

WHY IT MATTERS

Although California is often looked to as an example for improving maternal outcomes, black women statewide are still substantially more likely than white women to die in childbirth, give birth prematurely and lose their babies. Studies consistently point to one underlying factor in this health gap: racial bias in perinatal care.

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Besides budgeting additional state funding to track black maternal and infant health, Newsom signed this bill on Oct. 7, 2019.