LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — When a woman gives birth in the United States, she is much more likely to die from complications if she is African-American or American Indian compared to a white counterpart.
US Senator Tim Kaine is introducing a bill next month to try and change that. Today, he was in Lynchburg to hear from doctors and patients about what is causing this race disparity and how to fix it.
“I hope that every woman gets to have an amazing pregnancy and a happy, beautiful child,” said Ashley Reynolds Marshall, the CEO of the YWCA of Central Virginia.
For now, Reynolds Marshall will not be one of those women.
“For me, one of the factors of why I haven’t had children yet is because there is no data to say how I can stay safe unequivocally.”
That’s because African-American and American Indian women are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, two to three times as likely compared to white women.
That’s across education and income levels.
Reynolds Marshall pointed to Serena Williams and Beyonce Knowles Carter as examples.
“These are certainly two women who have every available opportunity to them to carry their children safely to term, and even they had trouble with it.”
Senator Tim Kaine is putting forward legislation to address the issue, which aims to tackle both health care funding and systemic racism.
“The amount of trauma that an African-American mom walks into a pregnancy with compared to a Caucasian mom is so different that unless we train our medical professionals to realize that, then they’re not going to provide the care to an African-American pregnant woman that she really needs to have a healthy child,” said Kaine.
He heard from local doctors working to address racial bias in medicine.
“For myself, should I ever have a child, I’m really thankful that those physicians are right here in our community,” said Reynolds Marshall, who was part of the round table discussion with Kaine.
We asked Senator Kaine how he plans to get his bill passed, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to put hundreds of Democratic bills up for a vote.
Kaine said he successfully worked with McConnell to raise the age of buying tobacco to 21, and he believes he can work with McConnell again on another health-related bill.