Dangerous Disparity: Maternal Mortality Rates Alarmingly High for Black Women in America

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has once again highlighted a deeply concerning and longstanding issue in the United States—Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth compared to women of other races.

These statistics shed light on a dangerous disparity that persists in American healthcare, reflecting a system that fails to adequately address the needs and protect the lives of Black mothers, but state Senator Joe Cryan has never addressed this crisis during his more than two decades in elected office.

According to the CDC’s report, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women in 2021 stood at a staggering 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. In stark contrast, the rate for non-Hispanic White women was 26.6 deaths per 100,000 live births.

These disparities extend beyond race, as rates for Black women were also significantly higher compared to those for Hispanic women.

Cryan has secured nearly a dozen government jobs for members of his family and landed two taxpayer-funded paychecks for himself that add up to more than $330,000 a year but saving the lives of impoverished mothers in Elizabeth, Union, Roselle and Kenilworth is not a priority for the career politician, who is seeking another term in Trenton on Tuesday.

Opposing him is Angela Alvey-Wimbush, a pro-choice Democratic woman who is a three-term member of the Roselle Board of Education. As an African-American mother of four daughters, Alvey Wimbush will make maternal mortality a much greater priority if she is successful in defeating the incumbent.

The CDC’s findings further revealed that maternal mortality rates increased with maternal age. Women aged 40 and over faced a disproportionately higher risk, with a mortality rate of 138.5 deaths per 100,000 live births—almost seven times higher than women under the age of 25. These discrepancies in mortality rates among different age groups were statistically significant.

The report also highlighted the disturbing rise in maternal deaths in recent years. In 2021 alone, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States, compared to 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019. These figures underscore the urgent need for immediate action to address the growing crisis of maternal mortality in the country.

It is not just maternal mortality that has failed to get Cryan’s attention. His narcissistic greed is evident in all his pursuits while serving the public is clearly not on his radar.

During the last two years while Cryan was Union County’s top law enforcement officer as the elected sheriff, there were 80 murders, 1037 armed robberies in which firearms were used and 409 shootings. Most of those crimes were unsolved.

Still, Alvey-Wimbush knows that maternal mortality is a problem that can be solved with greater education and access to quality health care, which are possible through government intervention and policies that she would pursue.

Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), expressed confidence about the preventable nature of maternal mortality deaths.

“We will use this information to inform our work in changing the culture of medicine, eliminating preventable maternal mortality, and fighting for the ability of our patients to choose whether or not to be pregnant,” she said.

The report revealed that over 80% of maternal deaths were deemed potentially preventable, indicating that there is much work to be done to address the underlying causes and save the lives of pregnant and postpartum patients.

One significant revelation in the report was the identification of mental health conditions as a leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths. Mental illness was particularly prevalent among white, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaska Native populations. This finding emphasizes the urgent need to raise awareness about perinatal mental health and allocate national and local resources for education, outreach, and treatment.

Moreover, the leading cause of death for Black pregnant and postpartum individuals was identified as cardiac and coronary conditions, followed by cardiomyopathy. This highlights the importance of understanding and addressing the specific healthcare needs of this population, as they face significantly higher risks than their white counterparts.

The data also shed light on the postpartum period, with 53% of pregnancy-related deaths occurring from seven days after delivery to one year postpartum—a significantly higher figure than previously reported. This highlights the critical need for healthcare and support during the postpartum phase, urging policymakers to extend Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum to ensure comprehensive care and potentially save lives.

The racial disparities in maternal mortality rates in the United States cannot be ignored. Black women’s increased vulnerability during pregnancy and childbirth is a clear reflection of systemic, institutional, and clinician-specific factors that perpetuate health inequities. The current data must be evaluated through a health equity and racial lens to develop focused solutions that address these disparities head-on.

Urgent and concerted efforts are necessary to ensure that no woman—regardless of race or socioeconomic background—loses her life during the miraculous and transformative journey of pregnancy and childbirth.

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