Black Maternal Health Week takes place every year from April 11 –17. This year, however, the Biden/Harris administration signed their first ever proclamation marking this Black Maternal Health Week in addition to announcing initial actions to address the Black maternal health crisis.
What is the black maternal health crisis?
According the CDC, “data confirms significantly higher pregnancy-related mortality ratios among Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native women.” The disparities have not changed over time.
In fact, American Indian/Alaska Native and Black women are 2 to 3 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Education level, income level, and geography DO NOT account for the disparities. Race truly does seem to be the contributing factor. In addition the CDC reports that 2 out of 3 of these deaths are preventable.
At its most basic level, Black Maternal Health Week and the president’s proclamation claim that quality, equitable health care is a right, not a privilege.
The proclamation states, “In the United States of America, a person’s race should never determine their health outcomes, and pregnancy and childbirth should be safe for all.”
The administration commits to the following actions:
- Increased investment in reducing maternal mortality and morbidity.
- Approval of the First Medicaid Section 1115 Waiver to Broadly Extend Postpartum Coverage.
- $12 Million in Additional Funds for Maternal Obstetrics Care in Rural Communities.
The New Mexico Birth Equity Collaborative is hosting a week of activism and community building this week. Check them out on Facebook for education, empowerment, and direction in this important effort.
According to the New Mexico Birth Equity Collaborative, “In New Mexico, the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) for all women is 28 deaths per 100,000 live births – higher than the US average. Consistent with national trends, Black and Indigenous women in New Mexico experience worse birth outcomes than their white counterparts. In New Mexico, the number of observed deaths in Black women is four times higher than expected based on the MMR. Black people are only three percent of the population but have the second highest maternal mortality rate in our state.”