Senate Passes Stillbirth Prevention Act on Unanimous Consent

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 11, 2024)- Today the bipartisan Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act of 2024 passed in the United States Senate on unanimous consent and is headed to President Biden’s desk for signature. This bill will add stillbirth and stillbirth prevention to Title V — the single largest funding mechanism to address maternal and child health issues in the United States. Stillbirth prevention has been left off Title V since its inception back in 1935. This change provides both clarity and a vital call to action from Congress to state health departments across the nation that they can and should use a portion of the existing $2.6 billion of Title V Block Grant funding to prevent stillbirth.

Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) led the legislation in the Senate. In the House, H.R. 4581 is led by Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-North Carolina). It overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House on May 15, 2024, in a bipartisan vote of 408-3. 

Impact of Stillbirth in the U.S.

Stillbirth, which is defined as the loss of a pregnancy at 20 weeks or greater gestation, is a public health crisis in the U.S. that happens to more than 21,000 families every year. This means one in every 175 pregnancies in the U.S. ends in stillbirth, and racial disparities persist, with Black women two times more likely to endure a stillbirth than their White counterparts. Recent reports and data suggest that further reduction in the incidence of stillbirth is possible, highlighting that at least 25% of stillbirths are potentially preventable.

“As many as 6,000 babies’ lives could be saved every year when stillbirth prevention measures are in place. The successful passage of The Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act means the voices of thousands of grieving mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents made a powerful difference for future families, and Congress acted. This never would have happened without the leadership of Senators Jeff Merkley and Bill Cassidy, and to them we are forever grateful,” said Emily Price, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. CEO. 

The annual number of stillbirths far exceeds the top five leading causes of deaths among children ages 0-14 years combined, including unintentional injuries, congenital anomalies, preterm birth, homicide, SIDS, and heart disease. Data from UNICEF comparing the United States to other countries shows that our nation can and must do more to prevent stillbirth. The 2023 report shows that In the last two decades, the U.S. stillbirth rate declined by a negligible 0.9% per year (2000-2021), putting our progress at 152nd out of 187 countries globally.

What Would the Stillbirth Prevention Act Do?

Currently fewer than 20 state health departments are using a portion of these existing funds to address stillbirth, leaving expectant parents in most U.S. states and territories more vulnerable to stillbirth. This clarification will support stillbirth prevention activities, thereby helping to save the lives of mothers and babies. Congress was not asked for additional funding associated with this legislation. 

“Getting this bill to President Biden’s desk is a huge victory for thousands of parents across the United States who have lost babies to stillbirth. I’m one of those parents,” said Iowa Sen. Janet Petersen, co-founder of Healthy Birth Day, Inc. “It’s a national call for all 50 states to make stillbirth prevention a prenatal health care priority.  It’s a moonshot to help save moms and babies and make stillbirths a maternal health tragedy of the past.” 

Endorsing Organizations

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is proud to be the primary stakeholder of the Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act. The Stillbirth Prevention Act is endorsed by 1st Breath, Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health (formerly 2020 Mom), 2 Degrees Foundation, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), March of Dimes, Measure the Placenta, Mom Congress, PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, “Reproductive and Placental Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine”, Return to Zero: H.O.P.E., Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Every Mother Counts, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Start Healing Together, M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death), Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI), American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), What to Expect Project, Postpartum Support International, Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) Foundation, National Education Association (NEA), Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, SUDC Foundation, RH Impact, the Dieudonne Foundation, and Bump and Beyond Family Services, LCC.

Full text of the Stillbirth Prevention Act is available at Visit to learn more about stillbirth prevention legislation in the 118th Congress. 

About Healthy Birth Day, Inc.

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of stillbirth through programming, advocacy, and research. They are the primary stakeholders of the Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act (H.R. 4581/S. 2231) and a proud endorser of the SHINE for Autumn Act (H.R. 5012/S. 2657). Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is the creator of the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program, which is credited with lowering the stillbirth rate in Iowa by more than 30% in the first 10 years (2008-2018). The free Count the Kicks app is a powerful stillbirth prevention tool to help expectant parents be more in tune with their bodies and their babies.