press release

Legislation to end preventable maternal, child deaths worldwide applauded

Church and Society upholds the dignity and worth of all women and children and applauds this legislation to do the same.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society and its Healthy Families, Healthy Planet project applaud introduction in the U.S. Senate of the “Reach Every Mother & Child Act of 2015.” The legislation will improve how the United States provides life-saving assistance to women and children around the world. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced The Reach Every Mother & Child Act (S.1911) July 30. This bipartisan legislation aims to save the lives of 15 million children and 600,000 women by 2020, and has the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation.

“Each year more than 300,000 women die due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, and 1 million newborns die on their first day of life,” said Susan Burton, GBCS director of Women’s & Children’s Advocacy. “Tragically, many of these deaths are preventable with access to simple, evidence-based solutions.”

S. 1911 would help scale up simple, evidence-based solutions such as access to prenatal care, immunizations and safe drinking water. “As people of faith, we see these deaths as a moral tragedy,” said the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, GBCS chief executive. “We have the knowledge and simple interventions that could prevent unnecessary deaths of mothers and children, but not every family has access to them.”

Burton said the agency has been pleased to see United Methodists from across the United States meeting with and calling their members of Congress to encourage them to support the legislation, which will enable USAID to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. “With United Methodist brothers and sisters in the Global South where nearly all of these preventable deaths occur, The United Methodist Church stands in solidarity by advocating for this legislation,” Henry-Crowe emphasized.

Burton and Henry-Crowe encouraged United Methodists to urge their U.S. Senators to co-sponsor the Reach Every Mother & Child Act. (You can send a message to your member of Congress by going to the following: Save Moms & Kids on the GBCS website.)

Editor’s note: The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. ** Funded by a grant from the United Nations Foundation and housed at the General Board of Church and Society, Healthy Families, Healthy Planet educates and advocates both within and beyond The United Methodist Church for funding, programs and policies that support access to maternal health and voluntary family planning services around the globe.