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Black maternal mortality rates are still rising: Is poor healthcare to blame?

If you Google, “Black women dying in childbirth“, or “Black maternal mortality rates,” you will find outdated articles on page one of your search.

This is one way Black women are disregarded when it comes to human rights. Unfortunately, not enough people are talking about it.

The death of YouTuber Nicole Thea brings awareness to Black maternal mortality rates

A recent case highlights YouTube star Nicole Thea’s death. The 24-year-old was pregnant when she died on Monday. Her unborn son also died. The cause of death is not yet public, but it adds to the racial disparities Black women face in reproductive healthcare.

In 2019, the CDC reported that Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as opposed to white women. The disparity increases with age.

In January, NBC News acknowledged that Black women have the highest maternal mortality rates historically.

Amber Isaac’s case proves that medical negligence is really a thing

Institutional racism is at fault for the lack of treatment Black women receive in the healthcare system. In late April, Amber Isaac, a Black woman who was pregnant, died shortly after delivering her son, Elias.

A few days before she died, she tweeted about her subpar treatment at Montefiore Medical Medical Center. Isaac was induced on April 20 and on that same day, she learned she had the HELLP syndrome. This group of symptoms can complicate pregnancy.

Amber’s negative experience with Montefiore took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, another barrier to the proper healthcare she deserved.

This would end up being her last tweet. Her partner, Bruce McIntyre, recalls her unfair treatment and says that she died as a result of it.

A 2018 National Partnership issue brief revealed many Black women have difficulties accessing the proper reproductive healthcare. National Partnership also discovered Black women are at higher risk of experiencing preventable maternal death.

Black violence refers to many things including racially-motivated police brutality, systemic racism, as well as healthcare disparities.

The case of Elijah McClain proves that Blacks’ lives just don’t matter to the healthcare system

Black people cannot thrive in a society that refuses to give them the proper healthcare and treatment they deserve. By limiting their access, they become a target to whites, like that of Elijah McClain.

Colorado police choked and killed McClain after someone placed a 911 call saying he “looked sketchy” last August.

The police arrived at the scene, attempted to handcuff him, and then utilized a carotid hold. The hold restricts blood flow to the brain, resulting in unconsciousness.

Medical responders arrived about 15 minutes later and injected him with ketamine.

A bystander deemed Elijah McClain suspicious because he wore a ski mask due to his anemia. This is a perfect example of how Black people don’t have access to proper care.

Perhaps if McClain received adequate healthcare, he wouldn’t have to wear a mask for his anemia, and therefore, not be seen as a target.

McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, stated her son was a massage therapist. If he was alive, he could’ve possibly been of service to a pregnant Black woman, or even postpartum Black women.

Both medical practitioner institutions (like hospitals and clinics) and government agencies should track Health outcome data and report it in order to make progress towards medical equality for Black people.

According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, hospitals and birthing centers should make health outcome information for labor and delivery available, with an emphasis on the Black community.

By tracking this information, we place importance on Black bodies. To support causes related to Black women’s health, visit the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and Fertility for Colored Girls.