My Little Bit Of Sunlight

In 1914 Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants…”. Today I’d like to shed a bit (I fear inadequate) sunlight on the problem of Black maternal mortality in America. Racism and inequity are common themes in my writing but today I’d like to concentrate on this one aspect of them.

According to CDC statistics from 2021. American Black women are much more likely to die as a result of childbirth than women of other racial heritages. (37.3 per 100,000 versus 17.4 for non-Black Hispanics and 14.9 for whites.) I’ve seen other clinical studies that adjust for things like education and income and the disparities are still similar. Here is a bottom line (and there are several): In America, Black women’s pain is not taken as seriously as the pain of women of other colors. That is deplorable!

I lack the stats to back this next claim up but my experience is that American medicine (and that very much includes health insurers) have a bias in favor of men at the expense of women. When it comes to health care (and several other things I won’t cover today) the best thing to be is a white male and the least desirable is to be a Black female.

The catalyst for this piece was the recent death of 32-year-old Olympian Tori Bowie in childbirth. If a 32 year-old Olympian has to risk and ultimately sacrifice her life in an attempt to give birth in the most advanced nation in the history of mankind on Earth we have a problem!

I’m certainly not going to solve it here today but at least I shined my bit of “sunlight” on it.

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