Harris, Gillibrand Offer Plans to Bolster Maternal Care - NBC 7 San Diego
Decision 2020

Decision 2020

The latest news on the race for president in 2020

Harris, Gillibrand Offer Plans to Bolster Maternal Care

Harris and Gillibrand, of New York, are among a number of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination focused on maternal mortality rates

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    Harris, Gillibrand Offer Plans to Bolster Maternal Care
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    Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., left, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, announced a new "Family Bill of Rights" Wednesday dedicated to issues of pregnancy, childcare, education, adoption and family care.

    Two Democratic women running for president unveiled plans Wednesday to improve maternal health care, with Sen. Kamala Harris reintroducing a bill aimed at addressing racial disparities in childbirth care and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand promising to make adoptions and high-tech fertility treatments more accessible to those who want children.

    Harris' bill, first introduced in 2018, would create a $25 million program to fight racial bias in maternal care. It would direct grants to medical schools, nursing schools and other training programs to improve care for black women, who are three to four times more likely than white women to die in childbirth .

    Her revived proposal also would allocate an additional $125 million toward identifying high-risk pregnancies and, according to her Senate office, provide mothers with the "culturally competent care and resources they need."

    "Black mothers across the country are facing a health crisis that is driven in part by implicit bias in our health care system," Harris, of California, said in a statement. "We must take action to address this issue, and we must do it with the sense of urgency it deserves."

    Who’s Running for President in 2020?

    The race for the 2020 presidential election is underway, and the field of Democratic candidates is packed. Those who have announced presidential bids include a vice president, senators, House members and three mayors. As for the GOP, a single Republican has announced his bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the party nomination: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who ran for vice president (and lost) in 2016 on the Libertarian party ticket.

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    Updated May 14, 2019
    Credit: Jo Bruni, Emma Barnett, Asher Klein, Dan Macht, Kelly Zegers / NBC;  Photos: Getty Images

    Harris and Gillibrand, of New York, are among a number of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination focused on maternal mortality rates. The issue was the first that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was questioned on at a recent candidate forum in Houston focused on issues key to women of color, and she recently penned an op-ed for Essence magazine on the topic.

    New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker earlier this year teamed up with Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and introduced legislation aimed at reducing the country's maternal mortality rate, particularly among black women.

    Gillibrand announced a plan for a Family Bill of Rights , which she vowed to implement promptly if elected president. It seeks to improve access to obstetrician-gynecologists in rural areas, while making adoptions or in vitro fertilization more affordable for everyone wanting children, regardless of income, religion or sexual orientation.

    Her plan would provide government-sponsored "baby bundles" for new parents, with diapers, onesies, a small mattress and other items designed to make newborn nurseries healthier. It further includes beefed-up paid family leave allowing parents to care for their children into infancy, universal prekindergarten programs and expanded child care tax credits.

    "The Family Bill of Rights will make all families stronger — regardless of who you are or what your zip code is — with a fundamental set of rights that levels the playing field starting at birth," Gillibrand said in a statement.

    Gillibrand said she had a "several ideas" to pay for the proposed initiatives, including a 0.1% tax on financial transactions like stock purchases, which she says would generate $777 billion over 10 years.

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    [NATL] Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)