Maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi
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By Michael Goldberg, Associated Press
Deaths from pregnancy complications have become more prevalent in Mississippi, and racial disparities in the health of those who give birth have widened in recent years, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health.
The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that the maternal mortality rate increased by 8.8% between 2013‐2016 and 2017‐2019, with the latter period being the most recent one analyzed by researchers.
Black, non-Hispanic women had a rate four times higher than white, non-Hispanic women. Meanwhile, the rate increased by 25% for Black women while falling 14% among white women. Of the maternal deaths directly related to pregnancy, 87.5% were determined to be preventable.
The grim figures arrive as the state is expecting more births each year as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had established a nationwide constitutional protection for abortion. The court used a Mississippi case to overturn the case, a legal effort the state’s leaders have lauded.
Health inequities are the result of the racism that led to slavery and Jim Crow laws.
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