To the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the National Perinatal Association speaks their names and grieves with you. To all Black people who suffer under an unjust system devised to perpetuate oppression, we see you.
We hear you. We stand with you.
We are long past the time for simply bearing witness to such injustice.
As an organization devoted to caring for pregnant people, their newborns and their families, NPA is acutely aware of the gross inequities and disparities that pervade our society.
Black women die in pregnancy at three times the rate of their white counterparts, even when controlling for education and income.1 They are 50% more likely to deliver prematurely.2 Their babies are twice as likely to die compared to their peers.3
Despite every attempt to explain away these disparities through statistical modeling or medical deduction, they stubbornly persist. It is abundantly clear that when researchers cite “race” as a risk factor for poor health outcomes, what they are actually measuring is the insidious effects of racism. One needs to look no further than the current pandemic to see how racial inequities along social, medical, and economic fault lines have led to Black communities being disproportionally ravaged by Covid-19.4
This evidence alone should be a call to action for healthcare providers throughout the United States to address the rampant systemic racism in our communities and within our medical practices. As an organization, NPA commits to doing better, to listening more actively, to facing ourselves, and to being anti-racist.
We all must act now to:
None of these actions will be easy. It’s easier to deny the realities of racism if we haven’t been directly impacted. Listen, pay attention, and believe the Black experience.
Sit with discomfort and use it to catalyze change. Take actions today to start saving Black lives.
The National Perinatal Association
1. Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:762–765. DOI: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm?s_cid=mm6835a3_w
2. March of Dimes. Peristats. https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/ViewData.aspx?reg=99&slev=4
3. Ely DM, Driscoll AK. Infant Mortality in the United States, 2017: Data from the Period Linked Birth/Infant Death File. National Vital Statistics Report 2019.
4. Yancy CW. COVID-19 and African Americans. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1891–1892. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6548