LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville city leaders have devoted millions of dollars to a brand new birthing center in Louisville. It’s a plan one of those leaders is very excited about.
Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-Dist. 14) said Mary & Elizabeth hospital stopped birthing babies in 1974. There was a short-lived maternity ward at the hospital, but she said that went away in the early 90s.
Fowler explained. “You have very few obstetricians and gynecologists west of I-65, because there’s no place to birth a baby. They have satellite offices. This will bring full-blown gynecology back to our end of town.”
Recently, a Louisville Metro Government allocated more than $8 Million for the brand new birthing center.Fowler said the money will come from surplus dollars. It’s a $20M project and Fowler said the UofL Health Foundation will pick up the difference.
“It’s just a huge win for the women of the city,” added Fowler.
Councilwoman Fowler spearheaded the effort and said the birthing center means more options.
“They’ll have the traditional type of birth that you and I think of, that I went through with my three children. But they’ll also give them options of having a more home-like atmosphere.” Fowler explained.
According to the KY Dept. of Public Health’s Maternal Mortality Review, 2021 – Annual Report, in 2019, Black women’s rate of maternal death was 118 per 100,000 live births. Compared with a rate of 124 for white women.
“That’s one of the things that my colleagues were really concerned about, was making sure that the Black and brown women of the city have better care and that the chances of a death whether it be the more or the baby are far less with the health care,” said Fowler.
She believes the new birthing center will help address the issue. She told Spectrum News 1, “Oh, I do. I really do. It’s not gonna solve the entire problem, but I believe it’s gonna save lives.”
In a statement to Spectrum News, UofL Health said, “UofL Health is continually looking for ways to create partnerships that help increase access and reduce barriers to care in medically underserved areas. We look forward to sharing more details soon as we finalize the plans for the new birthing center at Mary & Elizabeth Hospital.”
Fowler said she hopes construction starts in 2023.