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WATCH: The vice president leads a full cabinet meeting for maternal health

Vice President Kamala Harris led a meeting of President Joe Biden’s full cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the issue of maternal health.

Watch Harris’ remarks opening the meeting in the player above.

“[Maternal health] is something that deeply touches and concerns all communities. But this is the first time an administration at this level has convened the cabinet — the president’s cabinet — to address this issue as a priority not just for our administration but as a national priority,” Harris said.

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Harris said the issue of maternal health has a “generational impact” and noted that the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among wealthy nations. There were also strong racial and geographic disparities in the risk of maternal mortality.

“We know that in the United States of America, black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth, indigenous women two times more likely, rural women one and a half times,” Harris said.

Harris said maternal health was an issue that needed to be addressed holistically and involved issues such as housing and transportation and therefore required input from all cabinet members.

Harris said the White House is also creating a new designation, “birth-friendly hospitals or health care providers.”

“We’re going to proactively look at how the health care delivery system is performing on this issue, then pinpoint those who are doing well and, by inference, pinpoint those who have more work to do,” Harris said.


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