Friday, June 23, 2017
Ms. Magazine (Jun. 21, 2017): Calling on Congress to Support Black Women's Maternal Health, by Meliss Arteaga:
Last week, members of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), a maternal health advocacy committee organized by SisterSong, briefed members of Congress and non-profit groups on Capitol Hill about the state of black maternal health in the United States. BMMA called on Congress to "improve policies that impact the health of pregnant black women and stressed that access to affordable contraception and abortion is a human rights issue."
The U.S. maternal mortality rate has risen by more than fifty percent between 1990 and 2016. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), black women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth, and the year following childbirth than white women, and black women also experience more pregnancy complications than white women.
What is causing this significant discrepancy between black and white women? A combination of poverty-driven health disparities, systemic racism in healthcare, and lack of access to care lead to poorer health outcomes for black families.
"Racial discrimination is very real in the health care system," said SisterSong Executive Director Monica Simpson. "We need to listen to pregnant women, talk to pregnant women and love pregnant women. That includes ensuring that programs and policies support the health and the needs of pregnant women."