As a current graduate student of social work at the University of Georgia and as someone who recently moved to the Peach State, I was absolutely shocked to learn that Georgia has a maternal health care crisis on its hands. According to the ACLU of Georgia, White mothers in Georgia are more than twice as likely to die a pregnancy-related death than White women nationally. These statistics are even more concerning for Black mothers in Georgia, who are more than six times as likely as White mothers nationally to die a pregnancy-related death.
I found this news to be absolutely appalling. Pregnancy is often viewed as one of the most exciting and joyful times in a woman’s life, not as a time in which a mother is fearful for the loss of her or her child’s life. As if this crisis was not already bad enough for all women in Georgia, women of color are far more likely to die a pregnancy-related death, revealing that racial biases are still alive and well in our health care system today.
Despite these unsettling statistics, many state politicians appear to be hyper-focused on preventing a woman’s access to abortion, instead of advocating for legislation that works towards effectively solving this health care crisis. I believe that this issue should be one of Georgia’s top legislative priorities, yet in the eyes of the public, the debate surrounding abortion seems to overshadow this problem time and time again.
So, what can be done to solve this crisis? As residents of Georgia, we can act as advocates for new mothers throughout the state by spreading awareness of the problem and showing our support for policies that work towards decreasing this alarmingly high mortality rate.
I encourage all that read this letter to take the time to educate yourself on this issue and to contact your state and local representatives to urge them to do the same. I believe that the most effective policies in addressing this issue would be ones that include increased funding for women’s health clinics and mandatory unconscious bias training programs for health care providers throughout the state.
Once the maternal health care crisis becomes one of the state government’s top priorities, Georgia will then be able to work towards providing all women and their babies with the safer and more effective care that they deserve.
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