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Lawmakers fight back tears as state takes action to prevent new moms from dying

Data pix.

DENVER -- Startling statistics show that between 2008 and 2013 the number of mothers who died during and after childbirth in Colorado doubled to 145 deaths.

According to a recent Harvard University study, American women today are 50 percent more likely to die during childbirth than their mothers.

One person who knows this all too well is Adele Marshall, who lost her daughter Taryn two years ago.

Marshall testified at the Colorado State Capitol on Wednesday.

"She could be sitting here with me today, she was 27 and this was her first baby," Marshall said as she fought back tears.

"Her symptoms were flu-like the week before she died and since her pregnancy had been difficult she didn't think anything was wrong until it was too late," Marshall added.

Marshall's testimony compelling lawmakers to advance a bill to better investigate maternal mortality. Two years after her daughter's death Marshall says she is still waiting for answers from the state.

The vote in the House Committee on Public Health Care & Human Services was unanimous. HB 1192  compels the state to create a commission with yearly reporting to the state.

Under the bill, investigators would receive subpoena-immunity allowing them to better focus on what went wrong and not be constantly going to court to deal with pending lawsuits.

Investigators would be tasked with providing suggestions to the state and the medical community about how to lower the number of women dying.

"We are so excited about the possibilities so we can save lives," Rep. Janet Buckner (D-Aurora), a bill sponsor, said.

Opioid abuse and postpartum depression are areas the new commission is expected to study closely as to determine why the death rate is rising.

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