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Biden-Harris Campaign And Activists Sound The Alarm On Black Maternal Health Crisis

Source: Cardinal & Pine

Black Maternal Health Week is recognized each year from April 11-17 to bring attention and action in improving Black maternal health. This year, the Biden-Harris administration underscored their commitment to ending the maternal health crisis that is taking the lives of far too many Black mothers. 

Throughout the week, advocates, health providers, and the Biden-Harris campaign held roundtables in key battleground states including North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Black women leaders, advocates, and medical professionals highlighted the administration’s efforts to tackle maternal health disparities, while also underscoring the threat posed by Trump and fellow Republicans, who would further endanger Black maternal health care. 

In North Carolina, protecting and increasing reproductive health care access for Black women is especially important. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women in the United States are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. In North Carolina, Black women account for 43% of pregnancy-related deaths – despite Black North Carolinians only making up 22% of the state’s population.

A maternal mortality report found that between 2018 and 2019, more than 85% of maternal deaths in North Carolina were preventable, with discrimination being the leading probable contributing factor in nearly 70% of the deaths. 

Laws banning abortion, such as North Carolina’s Senate Bill 20, may lead to an increase in these numbers due to reducing patients’ access to crucial care, criminalizing providers and harming health. 

A national survey of OBGYNs  found that 64% believed that the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade worsened pregnancy-related deaths, 70% believed it made racial and ethnic inequalities worse, and 55% believed it made it harder to attract new OBGYNs to the field.

“Everytime there’s some type of policy that is going to be anti-Black, it then creates an exclusion for every other group,” stated Maya Jackson, a community doula and Black maternal health advocate, during the Durham roundtable

“There should be no reason why folks in Hoke County, or in Columbus County have to drive almost two hours just to be able to give birth. Same with the northeastern part of the state. All these rural healthcare gaps, these deserts, it’s because of these policies that were anti-Black, that trying to put restrictions on the movement of Black bodies, it’s now creating a ripple effect.”

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