LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — To honor the Black mothers who have had prenatal through postpartum experiences, Governor Whitmer announced April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week.

According to the governor’s office, Black Maternal Week was created by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. The group embraces the voices of Black mothers and looks at the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.  

“Black mothers in Michigan deserve to have access to quality affordable maternal and infant health care in a supportive and caring environment that leads to a healthy pregnancy,” said Gov. Whitmer.

Black mothers are 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts, according to Whitmer’s office.

“We must work together to address racial disparities in maternal mortality rates and ensure Black mothers receive the care they deserve,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II.

Gilchrist said Michigan is working to change this problem.

“We’ve expanded Medicaid coverage for up to a year post-partum and in the 2024 budget recommendation, we proposed funds to implement recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force and improve access to health services. We’ve gotten a lot done to support Michigan mothers in every community and we remain committed to tackling this issue.” said Gilchrist.

Gov. Whitmer said her 2024 budget reflects that this is a priority for her administration, as displayed by the funding for different health care groups with recommendations from the Racial Disparities Task Force.

“Earlier this year, our work helped Michigan become one of the first states to cover doula services, and we have consistently invested in Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies to reduce disproportionate racial maternal and infant mortality rates and ensure all moms and babies have the support they need. Let’s keep working together to ensure Michiganders, no matter where they live or who they are, can have a healthy pregnancy,” said Gov. Whitmer.