Racism and Sexism Underlie Higher Maternal Death Rate for Black Women
A new United Nations analysis of Black women’s experiences during pregnancy and childbirth in the Americas has concluded that systemic racism and sexism in medical systems — not genetics or lifestyle choices — are the main reasons they are more likely to experience serious complications or even death.
The report, published Wednesday by the U.N.’s sexual and reproductive health agency, the United Nations Population Fund, surveyed data from countries in the Americas, including the United States. It found that Black women were more likely than their white counterparts to report denial of medication or physical and verbal abuse in health care settings, leading to more severe complications, delayed treatment and worse.
Black women were more likely to die during or soon after childbirth, the analysis found, though it did not specify how much more likely.