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Planned Parenthood health centers stand with Black women every day.

Planned Parenthood health centers serve
more than 400,000 Black patients a year.

The work of standing with Black women goes beyond providing health care.

We must invest in policies, resources, and actions that dismantle sexism, anti-Blackness, and other barriers. We must promote justice and equity and protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care. 

For Black people, impending motherhood can feel fraught even in normal times.

At over 40 deaths per 100,000 live births, the maternal mortality rate for Black women is more than three times higher than that of non-Hispanic white women. 

Studies show that medical professionals tend to take Black women's health concerns less seriously. Anecdotal evidence indicates a pattern of mistreatment and inattention to Black women by medical professionals. Because of this, compared with white women, Black women are more likely to have serious complications resulting from pregnancy — and less likely to have their health conditions diagnosed, monitored, and treated in a timely manner.

The work of organizations such as the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, SisterSong, The National Birth Equity Collaborative, and other Black-led Reproductive Justice organizations has brought national attention to the Black maternal health crisis.

State control of Black bodies makes reproductive freedom unattainable for Black people.

The states that have placed some of the most severe restrictions on sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion  — Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia — have deep, distinct legacies of structural racism. These states have higher-than-average proportions of Black people in their populations, and have taken sweeping measures, in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court undermined the Voting Rights Act, to suppress Black people’s votes. 

Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to fighting voter suppression efforts alongside Reproductive Justice organizations, for the sake of restoring our democracy and protecting the power of Black women to decide their futures.

Photo: Miki Jourdan

Institutional racism is the pre-existing condition that has left Black communities vulnerable to multiple public health crises.

Black people who work in low-wage jobs often lack health insurance, leading to delayed or bypassed essential health care services because of the cost. Black people are also more likely to live farther away from medical care and to face language barriers. And Black people, like other folks of color, often distrust health care professionals because of a history of mistreatment. 

Barriers to preventive health care — a primary outcome of structural racism in the U.S. — mean Black communities also have higher rates of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease — conditions that increase vulnerability to COVID-19. 

Planned Parenthood Action Fund demands that, instead of investing in police forces that brutalize Black communities, elected officials prioritize public-health approaches that strengthen Black communities. 

Photo: Geoff Livingston