Advocates demand change in approach to Black maternal health

Advocates demand change in approach to Black maternal health

Nancy Davis

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – It is Black Maternal Health Week and community activists are demanding change to save lives.

Louisiana has the nation’s highest mortality rate for Black women during pregnancy, according to advocates, adding urgency to the cause. On Wednesday at the Louisiana State Capitol steps, activists demanded change in Black maternal health.

“Black women are two to three times more likely than white women to experience a pregnancy-related or pregnancy-associated death in Louisiana,” said The Amandla Group President Frankie Robertson.

“We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder to make clear, we are here, we will not be silent, we will not play dead, and we will continue to fight in what we believe in,” said The Nancy Davis Foundation Founder Nancy Davis.

Robertson said there are three bills that could aid in change.

“31.3 percent of our state is declared a maternity care desert which means there are people, birthing people in our state who cannot access OBGYN care,” Robertson said.

If passed, these bills would increase Medicare reimbursement rate for midwives, require private insurance companies to cover maternity services performed by doulas and clarify the abortion bans for miscarriages.Black advocates push for change in community, legislation

“Even Black women in the wealthiest neighborhoods do worse than white, Hispanic and Asian mothers in the poorest ones,” Robinson said.

These bills still have a long road ahead of them, but they are already gaining support from lawmakers.

“These outcomes can change, these outcomes must change,” said State Sen. Royce Duplessis.