2021 – S.534 / A.4598

2021 – S.534 / A.4598

Position Statement

S.534 (Kaplan)  /  A.4598 (Sillitti)


The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) strongly supports S.534/ A.4598, and urges passage of this legislation, which would amend the public health law to assure that pregnant women receive important and accurate information regarding the rates of maternal deaths and severe maternal morbidity with a racial breakdown on all data points.

In 2018, WBASNY supported the creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Board and WBASNY continues to support the work of the Department of Health and its partners in the effort to reduce both the high rate of maternal mortality in New York State and the severe racial disparity between obstetric outcomes of women of color and white women in this State.

WBASNY supports the need to remove barriers to information so that pregnant women can have all of the information relevant to their obstetric care and outcomes. In 2016 New York State ranked 30th in the nation for its maternal mortality rate overall, with clear racial disparities. Since 2019 the Maternal Mortality Review Board has gathered information, formed alliances, and provided hospitals and birthing centers with information and better practices. However, the severe disparity in outcomes between white women and women of color remains. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during or related to childbirth. Medical information that the proposed statute will mandate be provided to women prior to giving birth will help give mothers control over the decisions they face and the choices they have in the birthing process.

As an organization whose mission includes improving the health and legal status of all women, WBASNY believes that all pregnant women should be provided full access to vital information as gathered by the Maternal Mortality Review Boards, regardless of their financial situation.  Therefore, WBASNY fully supports S.534 / A.4598.

With over 4,400 members from twenty chapters across the State, WBASNY is the largest statewide bar association dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession and in society. Our mission commits us to improving the status of all women, and WBASNY addresses complex legal issues as we advocate for change for women and children throughout the state, and promote the fair and equal administration of justice and health care for all. Members of WBASNY include individuals from all levels of the state and federal benches, as well as prominent attorneys practicing in all areas of the law, educators and government leaders.