Vice President Kamala Harris is calling for immediate action regarding Black women dying during childbirth at alarming rates.
In an emailed interview with STAT, the Vice President said that Black women deserved to be heard “throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.” Harris said that she had heard many stories throughout the years of Black women alerting medical staff of serious medical issues during pregnancy and labor, only to be ignored.
“It’s devastating, all the more so because 60% of these deaths are preventable. That’s why President Joe Biden issued a proclamation, the first of its kind, about this crisis.”
Black women in the U.S. are roughly three times more likely to die giving birth. Harris cites several reasons for this, one of which being that Black women are more likely to lose medical coverage during pregnancy.
“Additionally, knowing that Black women are more likely than white women to lose their health insurance at some point during their pregnancy, through the American Rescue Plan, we have lowered health insurance premiums for millions of families.”
To combat the maternal death rate in Black women, Harris says that states may increase Medicaid coverage for a full year for new mothers following birth. She also says that she is working on instituting more training for medical providers and awareness.