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Dem lawmakers form Black Maternal Health Caucus

Reps. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodNew coalition aims to combat growing wave of ransomware attacks Lawmakers call for lowering health care costs to address disparities in pandemic Overnight Health Care: First signs of Thanksgiving wave emerge | FDA says Pfizer vaccine is highly effective, even after first dose | Biden aims for 100 million vaccinations in first hundred days MORE (D-Ill.) and Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Armed Trump supporter arrested at North Carolina polling place From HBCUs to Capitol Hill: How Congress can play an important role MORE (D-N.C.) announced Tuesday morning that they have created a Black Maternal Health Caucus. 

At least 57 members of Congress had joined the caucus Tuesday afternoon, including House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), according to Underwood's office.

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Underwood said the high maternal death rate among black women in the U.S. prompted her to co-found the caucus. 

"Our caucus will elevate black maternal health as a national priority and explore and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally competent policies and best practices for improving black maternal health," Underwood said at a press conference.

Adams tweeted that she was "thrilled" to help introduce the caucus.  

“The facts are simple. Black women are dying of preventable, pregnancy-related complications at an alarming rate, and as Black mother and grandmother, it’s personal to me," Adams said in a statement. "Maternal mortality disproportionately impacts Black women, and I started this caucus, so my colleagues and I can work together to find culturally-competent solutions specific to the Black community."

Clyburn also cheered the caucus's creation on Twitter:

The Hill has reached out to Underwood and Adams for additional comment. 

The U.S. has a higher rate of maternal deaths than any other developed country, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of these fatalities can be prevented. Black women are four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. 

—Updated at 4:56 p.m.