FRONTLINE goes inside the fight over abortion, told through the stories of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies.
When a rural community loses its hospital, health care becomes harder to come by in an instant. But a hospital closure also shocks a small town's economy. It shuts down one of its largest employers. It scares off heavy industry that needs an emergency room nearby. And in one Tennessee town, a lost hospital means lost hope of attracting more retirees.
African-American women are more likely to lose a baby in the first year of life than women of any other race. Scientists think that stress from racism makes their bodies and babies more vulnerable.
At every step of a fairly typical pregnancy for a black woman in the U.S., I was rendered an incompetent subject with exceptional needs.
If you’re feeling depressed and angry though, I invite you to continue on with some stories I can’t help but collect:
Black mothers and infants in the United States are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. The disparity is tied intrinsically to the lived experience of being a black woman in America.
On today’s episode:
- Linda Villarosa, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.
- Simone Landrum, a young mother in New Orleans.
- Black women in the United States are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women, and black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white babies. A growing body of research links this disparity to the toxic psychological stress experienced as a result of systemic racism.
I nearly had a panic attack while listening to this. The disparities in parts of America are so painful and distressing and we can, could, and should be doing more to improve them.
Black women are three times more likely to die from complications of childbirth than white women in the U.S. Racism, and the stress it causes, can play a leading role in that disparity.