INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are taking a closer look at maternal mortality. 

Although the CDC doesn’t have any official state rankings on maternal deaths, experts say Indiana has among the highest rates in the nation.

Doctors and health officials testified on the issue during a Statehouse interim study committee meeting Tuesday.

Maternal mortality includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth or up to one year postpartum.

“We are losing almost 100 mothers to postpartum complications,” State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis), who requested the discussion, said of the state’s 2020 data.

According to Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana’s state health commissioner, maternal deaths rose significantly in 2020, which is when the most recent state data is available.

Overdoses have been the leading cause of death, Dr. Box said. And like the rest of the nation, women of color are dying at higher rates than white Hoosiers, she added.

“The 2020 data shows that the Black non-Hispanic mortality ratio is 93% higher than the non-Hispanic white ratio,” Dr. Box told lawmakers.

Tuesday’s discussion comes two months after Republican state lawmakers passed a near-total ban on abortion, which is still on hold after a temporary injunction was granted last month.

“We’re all concerned this is going to impact access to care,” said Dr. Jasmine Johnson, assistant professor of OB/GYN at the IU School of Medicine.

Dr. Richard Feldman, former state health commissioner, asked Dr. Johnson how the law could impact health care. Johnson said she worries it may worsen health outcomes.

“I am concerned that our patients who already may not trust the medical establishment for a number of reasons, some of them very valid, are, again, not going to trust us and not going to seek care,” Dr. Johnson said.

State Rep. Summers said she is working to introduce legislation next session aimed at reducing maternal deaths.

The state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee has made recommendations on ways to reduce maternal deaths. Those include improved access to mental health services and more screenings for postpartum PTSD, Dr. Box said.