Governor Abbott Applauds Sen. Kolkhorst And Reps. Burkett, Thierry And Walle’s Intention To File Maternal Mortality Legislation

June 23, 2017 | Austin, Texas | Press Release | Legislative

In the upcoming special legislative session, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst Rep. Cindy Burkett, Rep. Shawn Thierry and Rep. Armando Walle will file legislation to extend the maternal mortality task force. This is one of 20 items that Governor Abbott previously announced will be added to the special session agenda. Governor Abbott issued the following statement applauding Sen. Kolkhorst and Reps. Burkett, Thierry and Walle for addressing this important issue in the upcoming special session.

“Pregnancy-related deaths are a devastating tragedy that leave many Texas families broken,” said Governor Abbott. 

That is why extending the maternal mortality task force to find solutions is of vital importance this special session. I am grateful to Sen. Kolkhorst, Rep. Burkett, Rep. Thierry and Rep. Walle for leading the charge in the legislature, and am confident that with their leadership, we can begin taking the necessary steps to address this pressing issue and further protect women in Texas.

"We must continue the critical work of addressing maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas,” said Sen. Lois Kolkhorst. “Today our state is working hard to collect, analyze and address the top causes, but there is so much more we can do. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow lawmakers in a bipartisan effort to bring Texas to the forefront of solving this nationwide challenge of pregnancy-related deaths and maternal health."

"It is unacceptable that Texas continues to have a high rate of pregnancy related deaths, but this upcoming special session presents us an opportunity to improve the situation," said Rep Cindy Burkett.  "I am confident that Senator Kolkhorst and I will quickly send Governor Abbott legislation to extend the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and ensure that the state provides postpartum depression screening and treatment for more women by competing for federal grants available through the 21st Century Cure's Act."

"I am pleased that Governor Abbott thoughtfully added maternal mortality to the call for the Special Session,” said Rep. Shawn Thierry. “Going forward, we now have an additional opportunity to fulfill our purpose as policymakers by promptly passing legislation to help resolve this health crisis. Doubling down on my priorities from the 85th Session, I will be re-filing legislation to extend the statutory authority of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, in order to develop statewide recommendations and best practices.  As statesmen and women, we should find common ground on the issue of maternal mortality, and I am ready to work with all concerned for the lives of Texas mothers.  As expressed in my letter to our Governor, we must do all that we can to ensure that no woman in Texas who bears life, will do so in exchange for her own."

“One of the bright spots of this upcoming special session will be to extend and allow the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to dive deeper into this crisis,” said Rep. Walle continued. "It is incumbent upon us to take every appropriate legislative step to lower our state’s third world level maternal mortality and morbidity rates.”