Panel established to study pregnancy-related maternal deaths

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A new law in Pennsylvania will help officials gather information about the causes of deaths of women during pregnancy or within a year after they are no longer pregnant.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed a bill that establishes a Maternal Mortality Review Committee at the state Health Department.

Officials say maternal deaths, as they’re called, are increasing in the United States and have more than doubled in Pennsylvania since 1994.

Wolf says the panel will recommend ways to prevent maternal deaths.

The committee will include medical specialists, a coroner, a statistician and others.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie of Lehigh County, says similar committees exist or are being developed in at least 32 other states.