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30 Texas House representatives ask DSHS to release maternal mortality report

In the letter, State Rep. Shawn Thierry said withholding the findings will "significantly hinder" the legislature.

TEXAS, USA — Thirty Texas House Democrats are calling on the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to release a report on pregnancy-related deaths and other maternal health data. A letter was sent to the DSHS by Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-Houston) with support from 29 other representatives. 

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa released a statement in support of the representatives' efforts, saying in part that he applauded them for their fight for transparency "from Republican leaders who have so clearly committed a fatal injustice against our state and now wish to cover up the evidence."

Last week, the Houston Chronicle reported that Texas health officials missed a key window to complete the 2022 report from the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee

Officials said the data – the state's first major updated count of pregnancy-related deaths in nearly a decade, according to the Chronicle – will now be released next summer, after the upcoming Texas legislative session. That means lawmakers likely won't be able to use the data until 2025.

Health officials said the reason they don't want to publish the data now is because it is not easily and readily comparable to other states' data, and they don't want there to be room for misinterpretation when Texas's data is released, according to the Chronicle report.

RELATED: Report: Texas maternal death rate study delayed until next year

But politicians say the data is critical for policymaking.

In the letter sent by Thierry to DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt, Thierry writes that the DSHS and the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee are required by law to submit the report no later than Sept. 1 of every even-numbered year. 

Thierry wrote that "given the state's past challenges with accurate maternal data collection and reporting," it's important that legislators obtain the most recent data related to maternal health outcomes in Texas, including cases of pregnancy-related deaths; trends, rates or disparities in pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal morbidities; and health conditions and factors that disproportionally affect the most at-risk populations.

"Withhold the report's findings (until after the adjournment of the 88th Texas Legislative Session) will significantly hinder the legislature's ability to assess and implement critical policy aimed at reducing and preventing future pregnancy-related deaths and maternal morbidities," Thierry wrote.

The letter is signed by the following representatives:

  • Shawn Thierry
  • Alma Allen
  • Victoria Neave Criado
  • Celia Israel
  • Diego Bernal
  • Jessica Gonzales
  • Ann Johnson
  • Liz Campos
  • Vikki Goodwin
  • Jarvis Johnson
  • Sheryl Cole
  • Gina Hinojosa
  • Julie Johnson
  • Nicole Collier
  • Donna Howard
  • Jolanda Jones
  • Terry Meza
  • Ana-Maria Ramos
  • Senfronia Thompson
  • Ina Minjarez
  • Richard Pena Raymond
  • Chris Turner
  • Christina Morales
  • Ron Reynolds
  • Gene Wu
  • Claudia Ordaz Perez
  • Jon Rosenthal
  • Erin Zwiener
  • Lina Ortega
  • Penny Morales Shaw

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