WASHINGTON — As we mark Black Maternal Health Week, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is condemning state Republicans for their relentless crusade against the maternal health and safety of Black women. Regardless of education or income, Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, yet state Republicans are failing to address rising maternal mortality rates while banning abortion and refusing to expand Medicaid – all of which have a disproportionately negative effect on Black women.
“There is a maternal health crisis happening right now for Black women in this country,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “While state Democrats across the country fight to expand access to health care, state Republicans cruelly do nothing as many Black mothers needlessly die. Democrats know that maternal health and racial justice can be safeguarded through intersectional policies, such as expanded Medicaid and protected reproductive rights. That’s why they are fighting to expand Medicaid and protect the right to an abortion in every state to ensure the health and well-being of Black women across the country.”
Refusal to Expand Medicaid:
- Expanding Medicaid has proven to reduce racial disparities in health coverage, access, and outcomes.
- Although states can save hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs and increase state revenue and local job growth by expanding Medicaid, 12 states with Republican-controlled legislatures have still refused to do it, leaving nearly 4.4 million Americans without much-needed care.
- Black women are over three times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy in the United States. Expanding Medicaid has been proven to significantly lower maternal deaths with the largest reduction among Black women.
- Medicaid is an essential source of reproductive health coverage, ensuring that low-income women have access to family planning, pregnancy care, STD and STI testing and treatment, and other reproductive health services.
- Nearly 1 in 3 Black women are insured through Medicaid, meaning an attack on Medicaid or the failure to expand Medicaid is an attack on Black women’s reproductive health.
Attacks on Abortion:
- If Roe is overturned or gutted, 26 states in the country are expected to ban abortion because of newly-passed restrictions by Republican-controlled legislatures or pre-existing bans that would go into effect.
- Republican-controlled state legislatures, including in Arizona and Florida passed extreme 15-week abortion bans mirroring the Mississippi law before the Supreme Court. The Republican-controlled legislature in Oklahoma sent a bill to Governor Stitt’s desk for signature that would ban nearly all abortions and make performing an abortion a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. These bills fall far short of the standard set by Roe v. Wade that is supported by the majority of the American people.
- Restricting or banning abortion disproportionately affects Black women who are more likely to need an abortion due to having limited access to health care, a lack of effective birth control choices, and inadequate sex education. Some of these women don’t have disposable income and therefore lack the ability to take off from work, find child care or reliable transportation to receive an abortion.
- Cementing the fact that the anti-abortion movement is indeed anti-Black: an anti-abortion group in West Virginia sent a KKK graphic to Delegate Danielle Walker, the only Black woman serving in the West Virginia Legislature who also introduced legislation to roll back the state’s abortion restrictions.