Commentary: It’s dangerous for Black moms to give birth
_The silent epidemic of African American maternal and infant mortality _
African American women across the county are in shock about the recent case of Jessica Ross and the decapitation of her baby, Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr., during childbirth. This case illustrates the deeply troubling maternal and infant mortality crisis affecting African American communities. The heart-wrenching incident is a painful reminder of the urgent inequalities within the United States healthcare system that unevenly impact Black women and their infants. It is an unfortunate representation of a broader crisis that can only be addressed through the struggle for Black liberation and socialism.
Jessica Ross, of Georgia, filed a lawsuit against a Southern Regional Medical Center and others involved in delivering her baby Taylor Jr, who was allegedly decapitated during childbirth. The lawsuit claims that the hospital, located just outside Atlanta, attempted to hide the baby's death from the family. The complaint alleges that the doctor applied excessive traction on the baby's head and neck, resulting in Taylor Jr's death. The hospital insisted that the Treveon Isaiah Taylor, Sr, and Jessica Ross not view their baby and attempted to pressure the couple to immediately cremate Taylor Jr. The family's spokesperson states that the hospital only allowed them to view their baby wrapped tightly in a blanket to hide the decapitation.
This disturbing incident is not isolated. It exposes the deeply rooted racist and gender biased healthcare system that disproportionately affects Black women and their infants. Celebrities like Serena Williams have garnered media attention for her childbirth-related complications, shedding light on a much broader crisis. If even multi-millionaire African Americans are at risk of life-threatening injuries during childbirth, what does that mean for working-class African American women? Black women are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts.
Tori Bowie, a former Olympic track and field athlete, tragically lost her life at 32 due to childbirth complications. At eight months pregnant, Bowie was found dead during an unplanned home birth. The autopsy report indicated potential complications coming from respiratory distress and eclampsia – conditions linked to high blood pressure during pregnancy. The death of Tori Bowie mirrors the reality that African American women face during childbirth. For example, Black women are more likely to have preeclampsia and eclampsia during childbirth.
Additional stats show that African American women experience an infant mortality rate at 2.3 times higher than whites. This alarming statistic is a clear indictment of a capitalist healthcare system that refuses to adequately support and protect Black mothers and infants.
The situation is particularly dire in regions like the Black Belt South, where access to healthcare remains a struggle for many African Americans. One problem is the scarcity of Black doctors, particularly Black women doctors. It is wrong that in areas with majority Black populations, there is still limited availability of medical professionals. I have experienced this as a Black woman living in the Black Belt South. The scarcity of African American obstetricians and gynecologists in cities like Tallahassee illustrates the broader problem.
We need Black liberation and socialism to end this crisis. We must have self-determination and political power. We right to a proper education, jobs, safety and healthcare. We need a revolution. We need to build a united front against the rulers of this country, a united front with a strategic alliance of the multinational working class and national liberation movements at its center.
When we did have Black doctors, businesses, and thriving economic regions, we were attacked and brutalized in events like the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, also known as the attack on Black Wall Street. In every sector of life, African Americans are repressed. That is national oppression. It is not just racism, it is real inequality – an actual economic, social and cultural attack on African Americans. It is how the ruling class holds onto its grip in this society. The ruling class benefits from national oppression. We can no longer allow them to rule in this way.
The horrifying case of Jessica Ross shines a spotlight on the pressing need to address maternal and infant health care within African American communities. The entire structure of this country must fundamentally change. We must hold these healthcare institutions accountable, end systemic racism in medical care, and commit unwaveringly to the cause of Black liberation. No parent should have to endure such a devastating loss and only we as a society can do that.