Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Tuesday issued its first-ever presidential proclamation marking Black Maternal Health Week as part of an effort to highlight racial gaps in pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths.

Why it matters: The U.S. retains the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, largely due to high mortality rates among Black mothers, according to research by Commonwealth Fund. Black women in the U.S. are 2.5 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.

What they're saying: "Black women in our country are facing a maternal health crisis," Vice President Kamala Harris said at a Tuesday roundtable event. "We know the primary reasons why: systemic racial inequities and implicit bias."

  • "I've heard many stories — stories of women who are experiencing postpartum depression, only to be dismissed. Stories of women telling their doctors they were experiencing pain, only to be ignored."
  • "Stories of women who could not hold their newborn baby because that child had to be on life support or receive a blood transfusion after blood transfusion after blood transfusion."
  • "Black women deserve to be heard. ... And like all people, they must be treated with dignity."

The administration said it has taken initial actions to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, including:

  • Investing $200 million to implement implicit bias training and create state pregnancy medical home programs, among other things.
  • Increasing funding for the Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights by 24%, to $47.9 million "to ensure protection of civil rights in health care."
  • Providing $340 million, an increase of 18.7%, to the Title X Family Planning program in an effort to improve access to reproductive and preventive health services.
  • Offering states the option to extend postpartum coverage to one year instead of the 60-day minimum through a Medicaid waiver that provides an easier process for states.

Go deeper

Apr 13, 2021 - Health

Illinois extends Medicaid coverage to 1 year postpartum

Democratic lawmakers from Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Robin Kelly and Rep. Lauren Underwood. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/ via Getty Images

Illinois on Monday became the first state to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers, offering a year of coverage instead of the standard 60 days.

Why it matters: 52% of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. occur within a year of giving birth. In Illinois, it's 80% of maternity deaths, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on a media call Monday.

Updated Apr 13, 2021 - Health

FDA expects J&J vaccine pause to last "a matter of days"

Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The U.S. FDA on Tuesday recommended an immediate halt of the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, citing cases of a rare blood clot disorder that six women developed within two weeks of receiving the shot.

The latest: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said at a briefing that she expects the pause to only last "a matter of days," as health officials investigate the data surrounding the "extremely rare" blood clots.

Pelosi's Republican playbook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Republicans fight among themselves, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing the myriad ways she deals with the GOP herself.

Between the lines: We've seen Pelosi cut opponents off at the knees, like she did with President Trump, or pretend to forget their names, as she did to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now she's feeding oppo research against her House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), so others can use the same harsh rhetoric to frame the Republicans as the party of dysfunction.