JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A local women’s group said minority women in Mississippi are dying disproportionally from lack of access to postpartum health care, and they want lawmakers to pass legislation to change that.

“We’re actually sickened by the fact that we need to be here. Mississippi’s Black women specifically deserve a right to live, and we don’t want to die in childbirth. In Mississippi, legislators have an opportunity to fix the wrong, and that’s all,” said Angela Grayson, Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator for Lighthouse Black Girls Project.

One woman shared her story, adding not everyone is fortunate enough to have equal access to medical care.

“As I reflect on my recent experience during childbirth, having excessive hemorrhaging, which is one of the causes for death after childbirth, and thank God I had a team that was mindful of me, respectful of my concerns, and valued me as a human being and actually listened and checked and made sure that I had what I needed in order to overcome that obstacle. It was something that I had never experienced in childbirth prior to,” said Dr. Pamela Scott, who is a mother of five.

The group said extending health care and Medicaid services from three months to a year will not only benefit the mother, but the child as well.

“So, it’s important to have these coverages expanded, so that moms can have access to these services, so that they can heal, so they can recover, so that they can be there and be present with their children. Because if moms are not present, because they’re worried about poverty, and they’re worried about daycare, and they worry about all these other things, they can’t be present, and they can’t nurture the kids in the way they need to,” said Niketa Pechan, a therapist and doula.

Advocates hope a bill will be created and passed in the upcoming 2023 legislative session.