Monday, May 3, 2010

Congressional Briefing on Maternal Health May 6

Dear Senator George LeMieux, Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Vern Buchanan:

I am writing to invite you to a Congressional briefing taking place this week that will focus on an issue about which I care deeply: the right to maternal health. The briefing takes place this Thursday, May 6th from 12pm to 2pm in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226. Representatives John Conyers, Lois Capps and Gwen Moore will be participants in this long overdue conversation, hosted by Amnesty International in light of their recent report "Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA."

You have heard the statistic that the United States spends more than any other country on health care, but did you know that we rank a shameful 41st in the world in maternal mortality? Women in 40 other countries die less frequently from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. African American women are nearly four times as likely to die, and other communities of color are also disproportionately affected by barriers to maternal health.

In honor of Mother's Day, Amnesty International will gather with U.S. and international maternal health advocates in Washington Thursday to underscore the U.S. government’s crucial role in fulfilling the right to maternal health at home and abroad. I appreciate and encourage your attendance in this important discussion of human rights, and look forward to your timely response.

Laura Gilkey, mother of two, Sarasota, Florida
Vice President, Florida Friends of Midwives
Informed Consent Subcomittee, Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
Planning and Evaluation Committee, Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County


Thursday, May 6, 2010, 12 noon to 2 p.m. Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226.
Lunch will be served. RSVP appreciated, but not required, to Jason OpeƱa Disterhoft at or 212-633-4292. Please contact Jason for more information about the event.

Remarks by:
Chairman John Conyers, Jr. - Democrat of Michigan
Representative Lois Capps* - Democrat of California
Representative Gwen Moore - Democrat of Wisconsin
Larry Cox - Amnesty International USA – Executive Director
Hilary Shelton - NAACP – Director, Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy
Maureen Corry - Childbirth Connection – Executive Director

Featured Panelists:
Jennie Joseph - Midwife and activist from Florida
Nan Strauss - Amnesty International USA – Researcher
Clare Johnson - Family member
Betsy McCallon - White Ribbon Alliance Global Secretariat - Deputy Director

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