Racism is a social construct. Race is not genetic by design. According to an article published in The Journal or Perinatal Education, African American women quite frankly are made to feel marginalized and stereotyped because of racism and the institutionalized barriers placed in the care and education of black women, before during and after pregnancy (Abbyad, 2011). Studies have shown that doctors have an implicit bias when it came to women of color. Other studies have shown that racial bias with some believing that African American women have a higher tolerance for pain and so under-treat the women in their care (Ashton et. Al. 2003).
Dr. Arline Geronimus a researcher and professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research released a study on “Weathering” which simply put took a look at cumulative stress as a result of socioeconomic status and social status she found that these stressors were endured at a higher rate in black women than in white women. She found the telomeres of women of the same age yet different race aged by seven years for black women in comparison to white women. The conclusion being that systematic racism is literally killing black women (Geronimus, 2006). The data shows that trauma literally alters the DNA specifically the telomeres
The Public Rights/Private Conscience Project (PRPCP) is an organization whose mission is to, “bring legal academic expertise to … religious liberty rights conflict with [fundamental] rights to equality and liberty”. This organization recently came out with a report that examined Catholic hospitals and their impacts on Black women. This study found that women of color disproportionately. relied on Catholic hospitals for care in relation or comparison to white women. More specifically black and Hispanic women, currently 44 states have Catholic hospitals. This in part is a result of a lack of access to healthcare. Catholic hospitals and Catholic providers follow a set of directives known as the Ethical Religious Directives drawn from the Church’s moral and theological teachings (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2018). Laurie Bertram Roberts Co-founder of the Mississippi Reproductive Fund illustrates her experience as a 17-year-old mother in her second pregnancy and how close she came to death a result of a Catholic hospital’s unwillingness to save her life. After multiple attempts of seeking medical help as her pregnancy miscarried and eventually hemorrhaged and lost consciousness. Her experience is so much like so many experiences of mothers, how these women are untreated sent home and left to suffer and more often die as a result of this lack of care. The standard of care needs to be apparent and taught to all. There needs to be a standard of the level of care and attention a person receives when they go to a hospital and entrust their care, the care of their unborn child to these medical professionals.
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