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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

MA lawmakers push Medicaid expansion to improve maternal mortality rates

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024   

On the heels of Mother's Day, Massachusetts lawmakers are backing legislation to address the country's high rates of maternal mortality.

The "Mamas First Act" would expand Medicaid coverage to include doula and midwife services, which are proved to reduce the rates of C-sections, decrease maternal anxiety and boost communication between mothers and their doctors.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said a safe pregnancy should be a right, not a privilege.

"This is common-sense policy that will ensure our lowest-income mothers are able to access comprehensive maternal care and save lives," Pressley asserted.

Massachusetts has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the nation but Pressley pointed out predominantly Black neighborhoods in the Boston-area face drastic health disparities, with preterm birthrates 50% higher among Black women compared to white women.

Backers of the "Mamas First Act" said expanding Medicaid coverage to nonclinical providers, such as midwives, will also help improve cultural competency, leading to better health outcomes in diverse communities.

Regina Davis Moss, president of the National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, said research shows pregnant women of color are experiencing higher mortality rates in states with restrictive abortion bans.

"There's going to be a need to name and address systemic racism," Moss emphasized. "We want to hear politicians leaning into that. It's going to be critical to them if they want to earn our votes."

Moss noted a recent poll found more than 90% of women of color want Congress to address issues of racial justice and health care. She added women of color have traditionally been one of the strongest and most consistent voting groups and it is time for policymakers to address their needs.


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Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a political event in Grand Rapids, Mich., in early 2024. (The White House/Wikimedia Commons)

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