Home World Black women across America suffer “a pattern of systematic abuse” during childbirth

Black women across America suffer “a pattern of systematic abuse” during childbirth

United Nations (BLAZETRENDS).- Black women throughout the Americas, both in the north and in the south of the continent, suffer “a historical and systematic pattern of racial abuse in the health sector” in the previous treatment or during childbirth, according to a study released Tuesday by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Black women systematically neglected or abused

The report thus explains the higher rates of maternal mortality among Afro-descendant women in labor, something usually attributed to lifestyles, hereditary predispositions or carelessness in their health, when the study reveals, on the contrary, that black women “are systematically neglected or mistreated ”, which translates into complicated pregnancies and deliveries and delays in medical interventions.

Only eleven of the 35 countries in the Americas collect data with racial criteria, warns UNFPA, which means that in countries without such data available, the racial problem “becomes invisible”, but it does not mean that it does not exist.

The report analyzes issues such as prenatal care, teenage pregnancy, access to contraceptives or the professional level of medical care, finding “systematic racism and sexism.”

Two women take a walk in Brazil
Two women take a walk in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. BLAZETRENDS/Antonio Lacerda

A concrete example is the testimony of an Afro-Brazilian woman: “You notice that a light-skinned person enters the office and the doctors take more time with her; when she does a black one, she comes out quick,” she says.

He also cites the case of Panama, where black and indigenous adolescents almost systematically drop out of the school system when they become pregnant, even when the law guarantees that they can also continue studying in their case.

racial imbalance in the United States

The racial imbalance in the United States is striking, where a black woman is three times more likely to die during childbirth, and even going through the university does not completely solve this gap, since in the case of women with a higher degree, a black woman has 1.6 times more risk of dying than a white woman.

“The scourge of racism continues for black women and girls in America, many of whom are descendants of those who were enslaved,” said UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem, who pointed out that abuse is not always very obvious, but rather which sometimes consists of “not taking seriously” the needs of a pregnant woman of color.

The report, written together with UN-Women, the Pan American Health Organization and UNICEF, points out some lines of action to put an end to these structural differences: to medical schools, that they “clean their syllabi of racist ideology”; and to hospitals, that they “establish specific policies that prevent the abuse of Afro-descendant women.”

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