Before the special session began, we said we’d be happy if the Texas Legislature’s only accomplishment was to pass the “sunset” legislation.
However we support the Senate’s effort to advance Senate Bill 17, which would give state medical experts more time to study why more mothers in Texas are dying less than a year after giving birth.
Senate Bill 17, which has bipartisan support, received a preliminary nod from the Senate on Monday.
It would allow the state’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity to continue looking into this serious and preventable crisis.
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Recent studies have confirmed that maternal deaths have risen sharply in recent years, and black women are at highest risk.
While some of the causes are known — substance abuse, mental health problems, obesity-related heart problems and infection among them — the reasons for the sudden uptick are not understood.
Which makes protecting vulnerable mothers difficult.
There is speculation among some that the rise in mortality was exacerbated by funding cuts to Planned Parenthood and other providers that serve many low-income women. That link has not been established because maternal mortality is influenced by many factors, but we need to know if there is a connection.
If there is something Texas can do to better understand and address this situation, it should.
Extending the task force will speed up the process.
The Legislature should pass SB 17 without hesitation.