HuffPost recently published an article about the intersections of police violence and reproductive oppression against black women. The author highlights the United States’ declining maternal health rates and how this disproportionately affects black women.
“Between 2011 and 2013, black women in the U.S. died at a rate of 40.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 12.1 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women. Black women are up to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications, and more than twice as likely to experience a life-threatening complication during childbirth or pregnancy.”
These numbers are staggering for a “developed” county like the U.S. who would seem to have the technology and resources to prevent these kinds of health outcomes.
The author also argues that the state of police terror and violence that black women face in the U.S.daily is a reproductive justice problem. When mothers are unsure if their black children will live to see their adulthood, or when they fear they will not make it home after work that day because they are pulled over for a simple traffic stop, these women are unable to freely make decisions about their reproductive lives.
Black women who are pregnant have no less to fear from police. The recent death of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant woman murdered by Seattle Police last month, reminds us of the horrific statistic that “black women and girls make up 13 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 33 percent of all women killed by police”. There are countless other stories of excessive force and violence used against black pregnant women. If we do not dismantle the police state we live under, we cannot truly achieve reproductive justice for everyone.
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