Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., Is on fire for comments he made in an interview with Politico last week about Black’s mother’s health condition.
Cassidy said that while blacks make up one-third of the state’s population and have higher pregnancy-related death rates, “if you target our population by race, we’re not as outspoken as it seems otherwise.”
“It simply came to our notice then that this was not the case. For whatever reason, colorists have a higher incidence of maternal mortality, “Cassidy told Politico on the Harvard Chan School of Public Health series Public Health on the Brink.
Cassidy also blamed disproportionate rates on the state for defining pregnancy-related deaths.
“Sometimes the mother’s mortality is up to one year after birth and includes someone who kills her boyfriend,” Cassidy said. “I think it’s best to limit your definition to what is perinatal, if you will: before and after childbirth.”
Louisiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. A state health department report shows that four black mothers die for every white mother and two black children die for every white child. In the United States, black mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers.
Advocates of black reproductive justice are rejecting Cassidy’s latest comments.
Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, a national reproductive health advocacy group in Washington, DC, said Cassidy’s comments reveal that Louisiana is not taking the right steps. to deal with the problem.
“That’s why the numbers may be so poor,” Howell told NBC News. “Because he, like the other elected officials in his state, doesn’t really care about dealing with these factors that are causing the black mother’s mortality.”
Gastroenterologist Cassidy later wrote on Twitter that her citations were taken out of context. Cassidy added that individuals are using their statements to “create a malicious and false narrative,” and added that the discussion was focused on working to address racial bias in health care about the inequalities that Black mothers face.
Cassidy is a sponsor of the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, a 2021 bill that would be directed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to channel funding to support maternal health. the bill, which was approved in March, was included in an omnibus bill.
However, Howell points out that Cassidy’s remarks highlight a much bigger problem: medical racism in the face of black communities in all areas of the nation’s health care system.
Louisiana, in particular, tends to be poorly classified in terms of the overall health of the population. Last year, the United Health Foundation Louisiana ranks 50th overall in terms of overall health, citing a high percentage of children who smoke, drink, are obese, and are underweight compared to the national average.
“If you have a senator who is willing to exclude a third of his constituents, what happens when they go to a hospital for treatment? Howell said.” Not only because of her mother’s problems, but because of any issues.
Why are the death rates of black mothers high?
Pregnant black women continue to experience disproportionately high death rates, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a 26 percent increase in the death rate of women’s mothers since the pandemic began.
Although the researchers did not explain the differences, the study suggests that racism is at the peak of institutional and other health factors, such as an increased risk of obesity and hypertension in black women. Howell added that stress and lack of access to quality prenatal care exacerbate this problem.
“It really looks at how public health officials relate to black women giving birth,” Howell said. “The statistics on Black Mother mortality are very high, no matter what your level of education, no matter what your level of insurance.”
In 2018, tennis star Serena Williams revealed in an interview with Vogue magazine about her serious health complications after giving birth because doctors forgot to hear about her existing medical condition.
“When someone like Serena Williams is having trouble giving birth and complaining about not being treated properly by nurses and doctors, then you look at a doctor in someone who is poor in Louisiana and of the same type. The problem – they’re probably treated even worse,” Howell said.
Cassidy is also experiencing a backlash on social media. Representative Gwen Moore, D-Wis., Criticized the official Friday for his comments.
Cassidy, she said, “doesn’t seem to care that black women are dying immoderately in their situation,” Moore said. “Her indifference is evil to read, but it helps to explain that America continues to struggle with its mother’s health crisis.”
Angela D. Aina, co-founder and CEO of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, a nonprofit group in the Black Mamas Matter Alliance that advocates for Black Mother’s health rights, also denounced Cassidy’s remarks.
“The Black Mamas Matter Alliance believes that Senator Cassidy’s statement is misinformed, and correct against the data on maternal health in the United States,” Aina said in an email to NBC News. “We call on all politicians and health care providers to analyze the data and, in particular, to listen to many black women professionals, scholars, researchers and advocates who have not only specialization and background, but also experience, to know what maternal health results are. to improve for all black mothers and all those who are giving birth ”.
Howell said Cassidy’s comments reinforce the importance of black reproductive organizations in tackling this crisis in the community.
“If we want to get better results, we have to correct ourselves,” Howell said. “That’s always been true with black women; we have to be our best advocates, and that’s what’s happening.”
Continue NBCBLK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.