Massachusetts Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, gained the ears of the Black millennial population over the weekend after she revealed her plan to eliminate the mass amount of student loan debt in the United States.
However, it was a recent speech which addressed the paralyzing Black maternal mortality rate that caught the attention of Black women voters everywhere. To date, Black women are dying three to four times higher than their white counterparts during childbirth. And outside factors such as income or education, seem to make no differences in the counted instances across the rate.
On Wednesday Warren discussed her detailed plan to attack the issue during the She The People forum held in Houston, Texas, at Texas State University, a historically Black college. The audience, filled with women of color, exemplified the same group which has consistently upheld the majority population of Democratic voters over the last 40 years. And now they needed to hear a comprehensive plan to eradicate this very important health crisis which has ultimately affected them and their loved ones for centuries.
Monifa Bandele, the Senior Vice President and head of maternal justice campaigns at MomsRising, first raised the question to Warren during the forum.
According to Warren, the issue starts with providing financial incentives for health providers who reduce the numbers. To put it simply, if the numbers of maternal deaths among women of color go down, those providers would get more money.
“And if they don’t, then they’re going to have money taken away from them. I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and make it a first priority. The best way to do that is to use money to make it happen, because we gotta have change and we gotta have change now,” Warren continued.
Warren specifically referenced Serena Williams, who was very vocal about the complications she faced during her pregnancy and delivery, which if left unaddressed could have caused death. And most recently, In her Netflix Homecoming film, Beyoncé shared how she had to have an emergency c-section after doctors discovered a paused heart beat for one of her twins. She also suffered from preeclampsia, high blood pressure and toxemia.
Warren also noted that in order to address the consistent numbers across Black women in spite of education and income, health providers would need to address the issue of racism in the medical profession, where Black women are thought to be more susceptible to handling pain. This ideology leads to many Black women not being believed or given efficient treatment methods to remedy their concerns.
Two weeks ago, Rep. Lauren Underwood and Rep. Alma Adams launched the first ever Black Maternal Health Caucus in congress, signaling that the fight to end the mortality rates among Black women had finally made its way to the highest level of policy makers who can evoke actual change.
Warren voiced her support for her congressional colleagues by throwing her support behind the effort. But her speech at the forum on Wednesday put forward a triumphant effort to lay forward a plan to save the lives of future Black mothers in America.