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Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy Says Removing Black Women From Statistics Would Improve Maternal Mortality Rate

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(Blogged by @thefineauthor) – Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy is facing immense backlash and even calls for him to step down after suggesting that eliminating Black women would improve the state’s maternal mortality rate.

Cassidy made the startling remarks during a May 19th Politico interview for their “Public Health on the Brink” series, in which he addressed the many deaths of women before and after childbirth. Yet, he gave no viable remedy that wasn’t steeped in prejudice. His theory is that since a third of Louisiana’s residents are African-American, removing them from the population will instantly improve the state’s mortality rates.

“African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear. Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be,” Cassidy stated.

Black mothers in Louisiana are four times as likely as white mothers to die. This is the unfortunate truth throughout the rest of the country. According to World Population Review, Louisiana’s maternal death rate is 58.1 per 100,000 live births. This is the highest figure in the country, more than triple the national average of 17.4. Despite the dismal statistics, Cassidy is pushing to eliminate abortion and defund Planned Parenthood, which offers women birth control options, STD screenings, and abortion services. In 2021, 64 percent of the 7,444 abortions conducted in Louisiana were performed on Black women. Many women choose to terminate their pregnancy for various reasons, but health risks continue to be high on the list.

According to Michelle Williams, the dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health, this bias is why so many Black women are dying. Financial insecurity leads to a lack of access to quality healthcare, which is imperative during pregnancy.

What’s more alarming is that Black women are more likely than white women to encounter preventable maternal death, according to National Partnership. Many African-American mothers have voiced that doctors and medical personnel are dismissive of their health concerns. Tennis star Serena Williams has been transparent about how doctors dismissed her concerns during childbirth, which resulted in her experiencing deadly blood clots.

Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin slammed Cassidy, saying that “he doesn’t seem to be care that Black women are disproportionately dying in his state.”

Following the outrage, Cassidy took to Twitter to defend himself. He claimed that “Individuals are cutting off & misquoting my statements highlighting minority health disparities to create a malicious & fake narrative.” He claims that his appearance on the show was to “address racial bias in healthcare.”

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