LMPV Testimony | Maternal Health Providers (SB21-194)

by Briana Simmons

LMPV Testimony | Maternal Health Providers 

Committee: Senate Health & Human Services

Sponsors: Senator Buckner and Representative HerodBill number: SB21-194

Thank you Madame Chair and members of the committee. My name is Briana Simmons, and I’m the Black Womxn’s Health, Healing, & Joy Coordinator for Soul 2 Soul Sisters where we organize for Black Womxn’s Healing and Liberation here in Denver. I’m here to testify on behalf of Soul 2 Soul Sisters to urge you to support Senate Bill 194. 

There’s ample research – both data and narrative-based analysis of Black, Indigenous and Latinx women’s experiences within health care systems as we know it – that indicate limitations, dissatisfaction, and outright fear. 

Even though Colorado ranks mid- to average- in safe birthing indicators (21st in midwifery integration, 8 in cesarean surgery rate ), social determinants, like a significant racial wealth gap, are impacting Colorado’s families. To be frank, average is not good enough for me. It is not good enough for Soul 2 Soul Sisters and the families we work alongside, and it shouldn’t meet your standards either. We can do better. 

Less than 20% of births in Colorado are attended by midwives who are shown to provide skilled optimal care. Lack of willing integration/coordination and genuine collaboration across birth settings, mostly from those in the dominant group, are one of the leading causes of poor birth outcomes. 

The healthcare system is vast and we all play a role. We need to hold hospital systems and providers accountable to their part in establishing, maintaining, and whole-heartedly fulfilling the need for interprofessional integration. 

Transfer best practices are evidence-based information gathering tools for setting a common ground and defining the relationship between providers across birth settings. It is truly that simple. 
As we continue to face an unprecedented healthcare pandemic, let us not forget the public health crisis of maternal and infant mortality for Black birthing people in this country.  During Black Maternal Health Week, it is our collective responsibility to be bold, responsive and adaptable to the needs of these constituents. We need birth justice now, and we urge you to support Senate Bill 194 as a way to protect the health of Colorado’s birthing communities. Thank you for your time.

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