At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we support mothers and all birthing people – and we support access to quality, affordable health care. The Kellogg Foundation has long invested in organizations focused on improving health care across the spectrum of parenthood, from pregnancy and childbirth to breastfeeding and improving health outcomes for mothers and babies. Over the past decade, we have awarded nearly $170 million in grants to promote maternal and child health. Our grantees are leading community efforts to drive a broad range of changes such as improving health care, informing new paid family leave policies, expanding childcare and early childhood education options, generating jobs that can support families and more – all with the goal of creating the conditions to propel children toward success.
Still, despite progress in maternal and infant health care, led in part by the organizations we support, significant challenges remain for families in the United States. For women from low-income backgrounds and for people of color in particular, disparities in areas like access to prenatal care, infant and maternal deaths and breastfeeding rates reveal persistent barriers. These disparities expose the longstanding effects of policies and practices that fall short of supporting all mothers and children.
We hear and understand the frustration from our grantees and our communities that further restrictions on women’s health care – exacerbated by today’s overturning of Roe v. Wade – will significantly worsen the effects of these existing disparities. Several studies indicate the extent of this risk. A study published in Duke University Press’s Demography journal estimates that forcing women to carry out their pregnancies would lead to a 21% increase in overall pregnancy-related deaths and a 33% increase in pregnancy-related deaths among Black women. A National Institutes of Health-funded study also found that infants born in states with three or more laws restricting maternal access to a full spectrum of care were significantly more likely to die before their first birthday than those in states with no restrictions.
Indeed, today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health undermines longstanding legal precedent and restricts the ability of women, especially existing mothers, to determine the best course of action for themselves and their families.
Together, we remain steadfast in our mission and committed to supporting the organizations, communities and individuals who are prioritizing the health, safety, well-being, equity and justice for our most vulnerable community members.