Clarke Introduces H.R. 2007, The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research And Education Act Of 2021
March 22, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) introduced H.R. 2007, the The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act of 2021. The bill would increase research funding for uterine fibroids, improve awareness and training, and seek to measure cost to government payers.
The bill is co-lead by Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Congressman David Scott (GA-13).
Specifically, the bill would:
- Establish new research funding through NIH, totaling $150 million over five years;
- Expand a CMS database on chronic conditions to include information on services provided to individuals with fibroids;
- Create a public education program through the CDC; and
- Direct HRSA to develop and disseminate fibroids information to health care providers.
The bill also highlights the need for improved patient and provider education surrounding the heightened risk for fibroids faced by women of color.
“Approximately 25 percent of Black women will suffer from Uterine Fibroids by the age of 25, and 80 percent will have them by age 50. Additionally, Black women suffer from this pervasive ailment at a disproportionately earlier age, are 2.4 times more likely to undergo hysterectomy and have an 6.8-fold increase of undergoing uterine-sparing myomectomy. This glaring health inequality must be addressed,” said Clarke. “This disease has ravaged the lives of women — particularly in the Black community — across the country, and increasing funding for research and public education related to fibroids is critical to reversing this devastating trend. H.R. 2007, The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act of 2021, is an important first step towards making women’s healthcare a priority by addressing uterine fibroids.”
The bill is named in honor of the original Member of Congress who introduced the legislation, the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio who is also the first Black woman to chair the Ethics Committee. She was a champion on women’s health issues during her tenure in Congress.
“An estimated 26 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from uterine fibroids, and unfortunately, diagnosis and treatment of this condition is still difficult,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Symptoms can be debilitating, and existing treatment options can impact fertility. We need to do more research and expand what we know about uterine fibroids to better treat people for this condition. This research is especially important to African American women because compared to other racial groups their risk of developing uterine fibroids is three times greater. This bill is necessary to establish funding to increase research and awareness of uterine fibroids, and to improve access to healthcare for the 26 million people suffering,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
“Uterine fibroids affect 26 million people in the United States, causing debilitating symptoms including pain and reproductive issues,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “It is an often overlooked health issue and I’m proud to support my colleague Congresswoman Yvette Clarke as she seeks to draw attention to this debilitating condition. This bill recognizes the true scope of the problem and provides necessary resources to begin to address it providing hope for millions of families.”
Uterine fibroids are a major public health problem that affect a majority of American women and represent one of the most prevalent benign gynecologic problems in our nation,” said Congressman David Scott. “We especially need to recognize the need for greater research and funding opportunities to target the disparity rates of African-American and Hispanic uterine fibroid patients. I am proud to join Rep. Clarke and my colleagues in introducing legislation to support millions of families dealing with this condition.”
Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths of the uterus, are one of the most common gynecological conditions nationwide. Approximately 26 million individuals in the U.S. from ages 15 to 50 have fibroids. Symptoms may include severe menstrual bleeding, anemia, fatigue, pain, bladder or bowel dysfunction, impaired fertility, and pregnancy complications and loss. Black women are at increased risk for the disease compared to white women, tend to get fibroids at a younger age, and suffer more severe symptoms. Fibroids are estimated to cost the health care system $5.9 billion to $34.4 billion annually.
Diagnosis and treatment of fibroids is difficult. Symptoms like irregular menstruation are often normalized by patients and providers alike, and many patients spend years without a diagnosis. Treatment is frequently invasive and often negatively affects fertility. There is a great need for improvements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, but fibroids research remains significantly underfunded, and provider education is variable.
Text of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act of 2021 can be found HERE.
“There is a critical need for more research to be done regarding uterine fibroids and the burden placed on various racial and ethnic groups. For Black women, uterine fibroids are a major and disproportionate health threat that requires urgent research attention, community resources and increased treatment options that preserve fertility,” said Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative. “We also need to collect data to develop more effective interventions and evaluate therapies, especially among black women who are disproportionately and more severely impacted by uterine fibroids. That is why the Black Women’s Health Imperative supports the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Research and Education Act of 2021 introduced by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY). This legislation will increase NIH funding focused on Uterine Fibroids research and lead to a new evidence base for treatment and cure for women of color,”
“SWHR is pleased to honor the legacy of Rep. Tubbs Jones by supporting the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research & Education Act of 2021. Public awareness and research funding for fibroids remains startlingly low,” said Kathryn G. Schubert, MPP, President & CEO of Society for Women’s Health Research. “We are hopeful that greater attention to this disease will lead to more fibroids research, the discovery of new treatments, and improved care for patients. Increased awareness of fibroids will also spark essential conversations among women, their families, and their health care providers about menstrual conditions, which are often stigmatized and dismissed by society.”
“Our stories, our experience, our voice matters, said Tanika Gray Valbrun, Founder of The White Dress Project. “The introduction of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education 2021 act is a monumental step in the movement towards uterine fibroid research to uncover much-needed answers for people managing life with fibroids. We are thrilled and grateful to Congresswoman Clarke for her actions and commitment to ensuring uterine fibroids research is a priority.”
ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS: March of Dimes, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Society for Women’s Health Research, The White Dress Project, The Fibroid Foundation, CARE About Fibroids, HealthyWomen
Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Rep. Clarke is a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Senior Member of the Committee on Homeland Security.