Maternal, infant health care debuts as an Alabama Arise priority

Alabama Arise reached a new milestone in October when more than 500 members voted to determine Arise’s 2024 legislative priorities after our Annual Meeting. Nearly 100 members attended the meeting in person at the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Institute in Montgomery, while almost 250 attended virtually. Outgoing board president Kathy Vincent led the meeting, which featured presentations from Arise staff and member group representatives.

Fifteen Alabama Arise staff members, all wearing either red or green shirts with the Arise logo, stand and smile for a group photo. To their left is a red brick wall, and behind them is a black wall with two framed photographs.
Alabama Arise was excited to have a record number of members voting on our legislative priorities this year! Above: Arise staff members pose for a group photo after our Annual Meeting on Sept. 30, 2023, in Montgomery. (Photo by Julie Bennett)

Six of the seven priorities are returning from our 2023 agenda:

  • Fully untaxing groceries
  • Expanding Medicaid
  • Voting rights
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Comprehensive maternal and infant health care
  • Dedicated funding for public transportation
  • Death penalty reform

Read our news release for more information about each priority.

A safer and healthier Alabama for parents and children

A notable newcomer to our roster is a comprehensive approach to maternal and infant health care, which was proposed by ACLU of Alabama. This priority certainly aligns with our ongoing work to expand Medicaid and close Alabama’s health coverage gap. And our members decided it was critical for this to become a named priority in its own right. We are starting off strong by hiring a maternal health fellow to support our work to protect coverage during the Medicaid unwinding period.

Advocates have a long road ahead on this issue. Alabama has the highest maternal mortality rate in the nation. And according to the March of Dimes, more than one-third of Alabama’s counties are “maternal care deserts.”

Two Alabama Arise members speak at our 2023 Annual Meeting. On the left is a white woman wearing glasses with a black blouse and a striped pink shirt over it. She has a purse over her shoulder and a bag in front of her. On the right is a Black man wearing a black hat and a cream-colored shirt with an Alabama Arise button. Both are wearing nametags.
Alabama Arise members Victoria Jenkins and Tem Samuel speak during the closing moments of our Annual Meeting on Sept. 30, 2023, in Montgomery. (Photo by Julie Bennett)

A safer Alabama for mothers will include access to high-quality maternal health care where patients live, removal of criminal penalties for doctors providing necessary care, and more freestanding maternal care centers across the state.

Alabama’s mothers and babies deserve so much better. Arise is committed to creating a safer and healthier state that will give parents, children and every Alabamian the chance to thrive and achieve their full potential.