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Uterine fibroids affect Black women disproportionately and former presidential candidate and Senator Kamala Harris has introduced a new act to provide funds for research and to raise awareness.
“Millions of women across the country are affected by uterine fibroids, which can present serious health complications,” Senator Harris told Refinery29. “Complications from uterine fibroids can lead to maternal mortality and morbidity, an ongoing crisis especially for Black women. We have an opportunity to change that with the Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Clarke to ensure that women get the care, support, and knowledge they need.”
Uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths that grow in the uterus, are more common in Black women and they are more likely to be diagnosed with them by the age of 50. Gynecologist Dr. Monica Ploetzke of McLeod Health said that research shows that “African-American women suffer fibroids 2 to 3 times more than white women.”
With the support of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, The White Dress Project, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Fibroid Foundation and many more organizations, the Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act will provide $30 million annually from 2021 to 2025 to the National Institutes of Health to establish a uterine fibroids public education program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and expand the data on which groups are affected by uterine fibroids.
This topic hits home for New York Representative Yvette Clarke, who has battled uterine fibroids and had them surgically removed. She has also had a hand in passing legislation related to uterine fibroids.
“This bill is an important first step towards making women’s healthcare a priority by addressing uterine fibroids,” Clarke told Refinery29. “Many women who suffer from uterine fibroids have their condition go undiagnosed as a result of a lack of education about the disease. Each year, approximately 7 million women in the U.S. suffer the symptoms of fibroids and an estimated 330,000 symptomatic women reside in New York. This disease has ravaged the lives of women across the country, and increasing funding for research and public education related to fibroids is critical to reversing that trend.”
The Uterine Fibroids Research and Education Act was introduced on July 30.