AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that gives more time to a state task force studying why Texas has some of the highest pregnancy-related death rates in the developed world.

Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created in 2013 to study and combat the state’s rising maternal mortality rate. In 2016, a University of Maryland study found Texas had the highest maternal mortality rate in the U.S. and ranked among the highest in the developed world.

The bill extends the task force from 2019 to 2023, giving experts more time to study the causes and develop solutions for pregnancy-related deaths.

The bill needs a final Senate vote before going to the House for consideration in a 30-day special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott.