Happy Mama’s Day
from Mamas of Color Rising and Young Women United
On this mother’s day we want more than flowers and cards, we want all mothers (including poor mothers, undocumented mothers, young mothers, queer mothers and single mothers) to have the power and the access to choose their birthing option. We believe that all women have the right to choose a birth option that is healthiest for themselves and their families. In turn, we believe all women have a right to accurate information about birthing options and equal access to hospital, birth center, and home birth services.
Maternal and Infant mortality rates are alarmingly high in the U.S., particularly within communities of color. Research shows that holistic pre-natal care (including nutrition and health education) from early pregnancy on, as well as continuous labor support during birth, contribute to healthier outcomes for both mothers and babies. These options, inherent to the midwifery model of care, are not available to poor women (uninsured or on Medicaid) in Texas or many other states throughout the country. While in New Mexico, Medicaid technically covers midwife attended births, information and access to the full range of birthing options is greatly shaped by a woman’s class and race.
This mother’s day Mamas of Color Rising (Austin, TX) and Young Women United (Albuquerque, NM) are collaborating on a joint day of action and awareness. Most poor and working class mothers of color don’t have access to information on all of our potential birthing options. This weekend we will be taking it to the streets in our local communities to honor mamas of color with flowers, as a form of creative outreach on birthing rights and birthing options.
Please forward this post to other mamas or mama supporters, and make a donation to our organizations, or buy a “If Mama ain’t happy, Nobody is happy!” t-shirt. Stay tuned for the launch of our upcoming campaign.
Mamas of Color Rising and Young Women Women United are both local affiliates of INCITE!. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing.
From summary of Amnesty International’s Deadly Delivery:
The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA
- More than two women die every day in the USA from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately half of these deaths could be prevented if maternal health care were available, accessible and of good quality for all women in the USA.
- Maternal mortality ratios have increased from 6.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006. While some of the recorded increase is due to improved data collection, the fact remains that maternal mortality ratios have risen significantly.
- The USA spends more than any other country on health care, and more on maternal health than any other type of hospital care. Despite this, women in the USA have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 40 other countries.
- Women of color are less healthy going into pregnancy due to less access to adequate healthcare. For example African-American women are nearly four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. These rates and disparities have not improved in more than 20 years.
- Maternal deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. During 2004 and 2005, more than 68,000 women nearly died in childbirth in the USA. Each year, 1.7 million women suffer a complication that has an adverse effect on their health.
This is not just a public health emergency – it is a human rights crisis. Women in the USA face a range of obstacles in obtaining the services they need. The health care system suffers from multiple failures: discrimination; financial, bureaucratic and language barriers to care; lack of information about maternal care and family planning options; lack of active participation in care decisions; inadequate staffing and quality protocols; and a lack of accountability and oversight.
This summary is based on DEADLY DELIVERY: THE MATERNAL HEALTH CARE CRISIS IN THE USA, which contains full citations and should be consulted for further information.