This article was written by Liz Dozier and was published in Crain’s Chicago Business on September 26, 2022.
In a perfect world, when a pregnant woman walks into a hospital, her skin color, race and health outcomes are irrelevant and unrelated because, in this utopia, quality health care is equitably provided.
The truth is we don’t live in a perfect world, but we all must strive to create one.
When tennis superstar Serena Williams nearly died in 2017 from childbirth complications after being ignored by medical professionals, the country restarted a much-needed conversation around disparate maternal health outcomes.
People of color, particularly Black and Indigenous women, are at heightened risk for negative birthing outcomes. Black women, in particular, are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women, and babies born to Black women are more than twice as likely to die compared to babies born to white women. That’s horrifying—and unacceptable.
The truth of the matter is that systemic failures often prevent Black mothers and babies from receiving necessary care. And though we may never live in a perfect world, investing in community-based approaches can promise that healthy and safe birthing options are available to all moms and babies.