The West Steps: Birth equity takes center stage
The U.S. spends more on maternal care than any other country in the world, and yet, we have worse outcomes than any other developed nation. Racism and structural issues within our health care system are just two of the many contributing factors to the rising maternal mortality rate in our country. The longstanding dehumanization experienced by Black and indigenous women when giving birth has led to mortality rates that are 2-3 times higher than white women. Additionally, the many stigmas surrounding women of color and women with low incomes continue to significantly impact the overall quality of care they receive throughout the perinatal period. Not only do these issues demand a deeper look at the structure of our health care systems, but they also call for a dismantling of the systemic racism that continues to have a detrimental impact on the lives of kids and families across the country.
In episode 12 of The West Steps, we are joined by Christina Yebuah, Research and Policy Analyst at Colorado Center on Law and Policy; Heather Thompson, Deputy Director of Elephant Circle; and Vita Malama, a writer and researcher for Elephant Circle, for the podcast’s first-ever discussion of birth equity in Colorado. Our guests explain some of the alarming maternal health inequities that exist in our state, as well as the way racism directly impacts outcomes in the perinatal period. These issues demand multifaceted solutions from our policymakers, health care providers, and advocates in order to help combat the increasing rate of maternal mortality. The small steps we take today can lead to more equitable solutions in the future.
Reach out to your elected officials and urge them to prioritize birth equity this legislative session. Visit Elephant Circle for more information on advocacy, updates on birth equity bills, and to engage with their upcoming virtual event on May 13.