Media Advisory: Reproductive Justice Initiative to Sponsor D.C. Congressional Briefing on Maternal Mortality


Oct. 24, 2017The Reproductive Justice Initiative will hold a Congressional Briefing on Monday, October 30, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

The United States has the worst maternal death rate in the developed world. According to federal statistics, American women are safer giving birth in many developing countries than in the United States. While most nations have met the World Health Organization's maternal health benchmarks, the United States has tragically fallen behind. It now ranks No. 50 in the world in maternal health and safety. According to recent studies, Texas is the deadliest place in the developed world for a woman to give birth. Two expert panels will discuss these issues and issue a call to action.

WHAT: Congressional Briefing on Reproductive Health and Maternal Mortality

WHEN: October 30, 2017, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. EST

WHERE : House Visitors Center (HVC 201A/B), Washington, D.C.

REGISTRATION : Register here by Friday, October 27.

WHO:      Panelists at the Congressional Briefing include:

The Erosion of Reproductive Health and Rights (12:10 p.m.)    

Linda Goler Blount, President & CEO, Black Women’s Health Imperative

Michele E. Gilman, Venable Professor of Law, University of Baltimore

Khiara Bridges, Professor, Boston University School of Law and School of Anthropology

Georgeanne Usova, ACLU Legislative Counsel

Bethany Van Kampen, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

The United States: Deadliest Place in Developed World to Give Birth (12:45 p.m.)   

Michele Goodwin, Chancellor's Professor of Law, UCI Law; founder and director, Reproductive Justice Initiative

Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, President & CEO, National Birth Equity Collaborative

Monica McLemore, Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing

Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Medicine


More than in any other developed nation, women in the United States stand the risk of death and disabilities during their pregnancies and childbirths. According to CIA data, per capita, more women die during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States than in peer, developed nations such as Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France, England, Japan and others. Tellingly, pregnant women in Iran, Bahrain, Serbia, and Bosnia are more likely to survive their pregnancies by comparison to women in the United States. How has the persistent efforts to erode women's reproductive health safety nets curtailed women’s rights and impacted their health? Why is Texas now the deadliest place in the developed world for a woman to give birth? In cooperation with Rep. Robin Kelly D-IL., the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, and sponsored by the Reproductive Justice Initiative at the UCI Law, this briefing shines a light on the status of women’s reproductive and health care access, and offers a crucial intervention on maternal mortality.

CONTACT/MEDIAProf. Michele Goodwin, along with other panelists, are available for interviews regarding this event. Please contact Prof. Goodwin at, or at 949.824.3897.

To reach Rep. Robin Kelly, please contact James Lewis, Director of Communications for Rep. Kelly at 

About The Reproductive Justice Initiative

The Reproductive Justice Initiative (RJI) is an initiative of UCI Law's Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy ( CBGHP ). The RJI engages in the cross-disciplinary study of urgent legal, medical, social, and human rights issues affecting the lives of women and children around the globe, focusing on four key capacity-building areas: security and safety; health and human rights; incarceration; and education. We work with faculty, students, staff, advocates, policy makers, civil society, and community members throughout California, the United States, and the world. RJI’s founder and director, Michele Bratcher Goodwin, is a Chancellor's Professor of Law at UCI Law