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Warren: ‘Prejudice’ the Reason Black Women Have Worse Maternal Health Outcomes

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said recently the reason black women have more maternal health problems is because of medical personnel’s “prejudice.”

Warren was speaking at the She the People Democratic Presidential Forum in Texas, an event hosted by an organization that states that it “elevates the political voice and leadership of women of color as part of a new progressive political and cultural era.”

A young woman who identified herself as someone who works in the maternal health field and a “proud member of the black lives movement” asked Warren about the discrepancy.

“The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world that with a rate of maternal mortality is now worse than it was 25 years ago. For black women, the risk of death from pregnancy-related causes is three to four times higher than for white women. And black women are twice as likely to suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications,” the woman asked.

She asked Warren what the candidate would do as president to address the issue.

Warren said what the federal government does is “ultimately about our values” and that includes “how it treats its mamas and its babies.”

“We have failed our babies exactly in the way you talk about,” Warren said, then went on to say that those failures affect all black women regardless of their education or income.

“And the best studies that I’m seeing put it down to just one thing — prejudice,” Warren said. “That doctors and nurses don’t hear African-American women’s medical issues the same way that they hear the same things from white women.”

“And we’ve got to change that and we’ve got to change it fast because people’s lives are at stake,” Warren said.

Warren said her plan would call for hospitals that reduce maternal death rates to get financial bonuses while those that don’t would be financially penalized.

“I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and to make it a first priority, and the best way to do that is to use money to make it happen because we got to have a change and we got to have change now,” Warren said.

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