On August 16, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 17, authored by Senator Kolkhorst. This new law extends the life of the Texas Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Task Force to 2023, allowing it to continue its critical work to review cases of pregnancy-related deaths and complications, evaluate disparities and trends, and make recommendations on ways to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the state. SB 17 also includes provisions directing the state health agency to evaluate options for reducing maternal deaths and treating postpartum depression; develop and disseminate best practice tools in maternal health and safety; and disseminate best practices for substance use screening during pregnancy.
In addition to Senator Kolkhorst, Representatives Burkett, Thierry, Walle, and others led the effort to extend the Task Force and push for action on the state's maternal mortality crisis.
The bill is an important step forward, but extending the Task Force must be the beginning – not the end – of the Legislature’s efforts to save mothers’ lives, reduce disparities, and improve maternal health. When the Task Force makes its recommendations, we urge state leaders to follow through on them for the sake of moms and families all over Texas.