At the end of 2017, I did a series of posts about the Black maternal mortality rate. With the CDC’s releasing new numbers about the U.S. maternal mortality rate, it seems like a good time to revisit the subject.
According to the CDC, the maternal mortality rate for white women is 12.5 per 100,000 births.
For Black women, the maternal mortality rate is 42.8 per 100,000 births. That’s three-and-a-half times higher. This is not a new phenomenon; the disparity has been known about for almost four decades.
Now…the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of all the OECD countries, regardless of race. Also, the U.S. is the only OECD country where the maternal mortality rate is going up. But the Black maternal mortality rate is on par with many countries that are classified as “developing.”
What would it look like if the lives of pregnant Black people were taken seriously? Or if the country treated this as the healthcare crisis it actually is? (yes…I know about the two bills in Congress. you know what I mean.)
Mother’s Day is hard for a lot of people. And many preachers stumble over what to say from the pulpit on the day. If I may make a suggestion it would be to focus on this. There is no reason for the church to be silent in the face of people dying from things that, at least the data says, should be preventable. For those of us who are scripture-based, maternal mortality is a shadow throughout many of the stories of children and inheritance. For those who are less scripture-based, there are many stories of death in pregnancy/childbirth/post-partum that could be explored.
I can’t convey in words how important this is to me. Yet I know I will write about it again.