Why Black Moms and Babies Are Dying So Often In Louisiana


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By Jennifer Porter Gore, Word in Black

Its near-total abortion ban has ripple effects that keep maternal mortality rates among the highest in the nation.

Louisiana has made abortion illegal at any stage of pregnancy with few exceptions; the ban disproportionately affects Black women. (Jose Luiz Pelaez/Getty Images)

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade almost two years ago, the battle to women’s access to abortion and contraceptive healthcare has moved to the states. 

Some have enacted total or near total bans on abortion, in the process, becoming flashpoints in the battle over reproductive rights. Louisiana, which has the nation’s 5th-highest Black population, has become one of those states. 

In August 2022, Louisiana became one of 14 states that have made abortion illegal at any stage of pregnancy, with a few narrow exceptions.

But a new report by Lift Louisiana found those exceptions — including fetal anomalies or a mother’s health at risk — haven’t stopped the state from essentially nullifying federal laws designed to protect patients and threatening clinicians who treat pregnant women. 


Louisiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, with Black women disproportionately affected, according to state health data from the Centers for Disease Control.

According to a 2019 state legislative report, four Black mothers in Louisiana die for every white mother and two Black babies die for every one white baby. The state’s maternal mortality rate also significantly exceeds the national average, and has the 5th highest infant mortality rate in the United States.

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Discover which states have banned or threatened abortion rights and the attack on Black motherhood.

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