Carper Joins Murray in Releasing New GAO Report That Underscores Need to Address Maternal Mortality Crisis

Report includes an overview of how maternal mortality is tracked, trends in mortality data, and how states are using federal funding to reduce deaths 

Findings demonstrate the need for continued efforts to reduce maternal mortality and address racial, ethnic, and age-related disparities 

While the maternal mortality ratio decreased globally by about three percent from 2000 to 2015, the ratio in the U.S. increased by three percent


WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, to release a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on maternal mortality describing how maternal deaths are tracked, trends and disparities in mortality data, and how federal funding is being used to reduce pregnancy-related deaths. Senators Carper and Murray requested the report in 2018 to determine how effectively federal investments were being used and what improvements could be made to promote maternal health.


“This GAO report confirms that we must do more to better address the increase in maternal mortality rates we are seeing in the United States. It is simply unacceptable that, in the wealthiest nation on the planet, women are dying from pregnancy-related complications at a higher rate than any other developed country,” said Senator Carper. “We must be laser-focused on figuring out solutions to address the racial and ethnic inequities in our maternal health and support systems and how we can work to address them. It is my hope that this report will help serve as a roadmap of what we know about maternal mortality rates and, from that, identify what we can be doing in Delaware and across the country – at the local, state, and federal level – to address this preventable crisis that is causing too much heartache for American families.”


“It’s unacceptable that the U.S. has not only fallen behind in reducing maternal mortality rates, but has actually seen an increase.” Murray said. “This new report sheds light on where we are and where we need to go in our fight to reduce pregnancy-related deaths, improve maternal health equity, and make sure every woman—regardless of race, age, or income—can have a safe pregnancy. It’s clear from this report that we have a lot more work to do, which is why I’m going to keep fighting to address this crisis so that what should be a moment of joy doesn’t end in tragedy for so many families.”

The GAO report found that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 6,700 women died of causes related to or aggravated by their pregnancy between 2007 and 2016. Rates are far higher for some communities of color, with non-Hispanic black women more than three times as likely to die than non-Hispanic white women. The report also advances understanding of how the CDC monitors these deaths and which Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs are available and being used by states to address this crisis. 

The report is being released by Senators Tom Carper and Patty Murray, along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full text of the report, “Maternal Mortality: Trends in Pregnancy-Related Deaths and Federal Efforts to Reduce Them,” can be found HERE.