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County board passes Miller budget amendments to support veterans, address maternal mortality

The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Nov. 16, passed the FY2024 budget, which included two amendments championed by 6th District Commissioner Donna Miller to secure funding and support for veterans and pregnant women to reduce maternal mortality rates.

Miller’s district includes Homewood.

One amendment, No. 9, provides funding for increased benefits for Cook County veterans to address the increased need for aid and support services.

Amendment 19 will fund doula and social support services in the Ambulatory and Community Health Network and Stroger Hospital to help improve maternal mortality and morbidity rates in Cook County. Doulas provide physical and emotional support and advice to women during pregnancy and childbirth.

“Our budget should reflect our values, and that’s why I was proud to sponsor amendments to this year’s Cook County budget that support our veterans and invest in lowering our maternal mortality rate,” Miller said. “Our veterans have put their lives on the line for our country, and deserve access to resources for them and their families. This additional funding will help us fill gaps that currently exist in the services we provide. 

“More than eight of ten maternal deaths are preventable, and we need to be doing everything we can to avoid these deaths and keep women safe. By increasing doula and social support services, we can make real steps towards ensuring women in Cook County don’t lose their lives during pregnancy and childbirth.”

As part of her broader efforts to address disparities in healthcare that result in worse outcomes for Black women, Miller held a hearing on maternal mortality in June. She has championed the issue of maternal mortality as reports show that in 2020, Illinois had a maternal mortality rate of 23 deaths per 100,000 live births. For Black women, that rate was six times higher — surpassing the national average. 

Miller has also prioritized supporting veterans in Cook County as the Chairwoman of the Veterans Committee. In March, she joined forces with former Gov. Pat Quinn to bring the Portrait of a Soldier exhibit to the Cook County Building, a local artist’s work showcasing Illinois service members who have been killed since Sept. 11, 2001.

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