TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey lawmakers have advanced a package of bills aiming to reduce the number of mothers who die during pregnancy, childbirth or soon after giving birth.
A joint meeting of the Assembly's Democrat-led Women and Children and Health committees voted Tuesday to advance 14 measures.
Lawmakers say New Jersey has the fifth-highest maternal mortality rate in the country and that the rate for black mothers is nearly four times as that of white women.
Lawmakers cite data compiled by the United Health Foundation.
Among the bills that advanced is a measure that would extend the state's Medicaid coverage to doulas. Doulas offer mothers physical, emotional, and educational support before during and after pregnancy.
Another measure calls on the Health Department to set up protocols for evaluating maternity care.