Dem lawmakers form Black Maternal Health Caucus

Reps. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodDemocrats grill FEMA over inflated payments for Hurricane Maria Democrats grill FEMA over inflated payments for Hurricane Maria Youngest black congresswoman says millennial colleagues have 'less fighting over partisan nonsense' MORE (D-Ill.) and Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsHarris introduces bill to combat racial bias in maternal health care WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises 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 HoyerThe case for congressional pay raises Approve USMCA before it's too late Lawmakers push to permanently ban automatic pay raises for members of Congress 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.