Birth Justice Collaborative applauds passage of birth justice legislation


Two bills aimed at advancing maternal health and improving birth outcomes for Minnesotans were passed this year, and are consider groundbreaking by the Birth Justice Collaborative. "The passage of these bills marks a significant victory for birth justice advocates and represents a critical step toward ensuring all birthing people will receive the care and support they deserve," collaborative representatives say.

African American Homeplace (SF5171/HF5108): 

The African American Homeplace Bill (SF5171/HF5108) was introduced by Senator Mary Kunesh in the Senate and co-sponsored by Senators Mohamed, Champion, Abeler, and Oumou Verbeten. This bill funds planning for a culturally celebrative space that will serve as a single-entry point to find perinatal safety; learn about and access perinatal care, lactation support, nutrition education, economic navigation; and be in community during the postpartum period. "The successful passage of the African American Homeplace bill through both the Senate and the House is a testament to the tireless efforts of advocates and legislators committed to improving maternal health," collaborative representatives say.

"We are thrilled to see the African American Homeplace planning bill pass," said Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway, Co-Senior Pastor of Liberty Community Church and Northside Healing Space. "This legislation is a vital step in addressing the disparities and systemic barriers that have long impacted maternal health outcomes in the Twin Cities African American community."

American Indian Birthing Center (SF4992/HF4935): 

Similarly, the American Indian Birthing Center (SF4992/HF4935), also introduced by Senator Mary Kunesh, and co-sponsored by Senators Morrison, Port, Oumou Verbeten and Boldon, will establish funding to plan the first Native American Birthing Center in the United States focused on restorative practices and culturally-grounded support providing birthing families and cultural providers a safe and sacred space to prepare for and deliver children. "Its passage represents a unified effort to bring about tremendous progress in eliminating perinatal health disparities for Indigenous birthing people," collaborative representatives say.

“The passage of the American Indian Birthing Center funding bill is a monumental achievement," said Louise Matson, Executive Director of the Division of Indian Work. "It demonstrates our collective commitment to ensuring that every Indigenous birthing person in the Twin Cities receives culturally aligned, respectful, high-quality perinatal health care.”

A New Era for Birth Justice

"The successful enactment of these bills underscores the importance of legislative action in advancing birth justice. All partners within the Birth Justice Collaborative extend their gratitude to the lawmakers, advocates, and community members who have worked tirelessly to champion these causes," collaborative representatives say.

"We are entering a new era for birth justice," said Birth Justice Collaborative Director Corenia Smith Kunuku. "With these bills, we are laying the foundation for a future where every parent and child can thrive, free from the injustices and inequalities that currently exist in maternal health in the Twin Cities and beyond."

About the Birth Justice Collaborative

The Birth Justice Collaborative is an African American and American Indian led coalition advancing maternal health and birth justice by addressing barriers of structural racism, and reconnecting with cultural strengths and wisdom. The BJC currently has two bills relating to planning an African American Homeplace for mothers and doulas, and an American Indian Birthing Center. Birth Justice Collaborative coalition partners include: Native American Community Clinic, Cultural Wellness Center, Division of Indian Work, University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC), and Northside Healing Space. Learn more at www.birthjusticecollaborative.com.

For more information about the Birth Justice Collaborative advocacy, contact Corenia Smith at corenia@collectiveactionlab.com.


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