How do racial disparities in health care affect women of color? This week, Ebony magazine took on the complex topic by hosting a Twitter chat featuring Katrina Anderson, senior human rights counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
Engaging a range of voices from across the Twittersphere, the chat probed issues of access barriers, poor-quality health services, the need for Medicaid expansion, and blatant racial bias from health providers.
Anderson and Simpson coauthored an article published by Ebony in conjunction with the chat. They write:
Alarmed and frustrated at the lack of national discussion about the issue of black women’s maternal health—and the status of black women’s health more generally—we decided to take the issue to the international stage where we could hold our government accountable for failing to take action to address discrimination in health care.
The Center and SisterSong testified jointly this summer in Geneva before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Their testimony focused on the disturbing disparity in maternal mortality rates in the United States, where black women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. For black women living in the U.S. South—where poverty rates are high and many are uninsured—the mortality rates are even greater.