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Warren, Harris Decry Deaths of a Few Hundred Black Mothers, Silent on Slaughter of 230,000 Black Babies

I should have known something was afoot when Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, standing atop a food preparation table durin...

I should have known something was afoot when Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, standing atop a food preparation table during an event last week at a coffee shop in Reno, Nevada, told an audience that Planned Parenthood was in the business of saving lives.
“No one wants to see people die in the wealthiest and most powerful country on the face of the planet for lack of care, so when I connect back that family planning clinics — Planned Parenthood, to be specific, in Texas is saving the lives of our fellow women, and it’s a life-and-death matter in this country,” the former Texas congressman declared.
“Three times as deadly for women of color in this maternal mortality crisis that we have right now. I think I can find some common ground to ensure that we see the larger picture and our national public shared interest going forward.”
At that time, I thought we were dealing with yet another example of Beto being Beto. Planned Parenthood saving lives and stopping a crisis of maternal mortality among women of color? This was a guy who, less than a week later, informed us we had a nice, round 10 years to solve the climate crisis — something he assured us “the science and scientists tell us.” Unserious men say unserious things, after all.
Little was I aware, as Beto strode a food prep table, I was watching an incipient Democratic talking point taking form. In the days since Beto’s coffee-shop paean to Planned Parenthood in Nevada, disparities in maternity outcomes for black mothers have become a snap campaign issue for Democratic contenders, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California.
Not a sudden campaign issue, however? Racial disparities in abortion rates.
This isn’t a surprise, considering abortion has been elevated to the status of a sacrament in recent years. Deaths during childbirth, however, are a relatively uncontroversial issue — particularly if one can point to systemic inequalities.
Warren, ever out front on these sorts of issues, penned an Op-Ed in the black women’s magazine Essence on the issue of maternal mortality. Pay close attention to the second paragraph, because it’s going to come into play later.
“I was 21 when I found out I was pregnant,” Warren wrote. “Like millions of women, I felt like I was strapped in on a roller coaster that had just shot off. Joy. Terror. Curiosity. And sometimes all three in the same minute.
“Unfortunately, despite decades of progress, roughly 700 women continue to die each year from pregnancy or delivery complications in the United States, making it one of only thirteen countries where maternal mortality rates have worsened over the last 25 years. We are facing a maternal mortality crisis in America.
“And for Black moms, particularly those living in rural areas, it’s an epidemic.
“The data shows that Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. This trend persists even after adjusting for income and education. One major reason? Racism.”
Warren said data from ProPublica alleged “that the vast majority of maternal deaths are preventable, but decades of racism and discrimination mean that, too often, doctors and nurses don’t hear Black women’s health issues the same way they hear them from other women.”
That paragraph is slightly misleading — it wasn’t ProPublica which stated that “too often, doctors and nurses don’t hear Black women’s health issues the same way they hear them from other women,” but instead the decidedly more partisan National Women’s Law Center.
However, this was all a predictable springboard into one of Warren’s policy prescriptions, which would treat childbirth the way some other procedures are under Obamacare by “bundling” childbirth and its aftermath into a single “episode” of care; the senator claims that “data show that these so-called ‘bundled payments’ give health systems both greater incentives and greater control to improve results.”
Harris, meanwhile, has been less specific about her policy prescriptions, merely noting during her CNN town hall last week that the disparity of outcomes in childbirth was “a matter of racial bias in the health care delivery system. Those women are not taken as seriously when they show up at the clinic or the doctor’s office or the hospital.”
Again, the support for these claims — if one is at least to breadcrumb the sources used in Warren’s article — goes back to two papers very heavy on the language of social justice and light on the evidence. In one of them, the author reacts with disgust that papers examining racial disparities in health outcomes don’t mention bigotry, as if this were the only possible explanation: “A search for articles published in the Journal over the past decade, for example, reveals that although more than 300 focused on health disparities, only 14 contained the word ‘racism’ (and half of those were book reviews),” Dr. Mary T. Bassett writes in the 2015 piece.
But, yes, there are racial disparities in the “roughly 700 women” who die in childbirth every year. We ought to look at eliminating all deaths in childbirth, especially among minorities. Even if we as Americans might disagree on the causes of the problem and whether it’s indicative of systemic racism or doctors not listening to patients of color, we don’t disagree that there’s a problem to be solved.
However, one wonders just how serious these contenders are about disparities in childbirth when not a single one has looked at the racial disparities present in abortion.
Let’s take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Abortion Surveillance” report from 2015. “Among the 30 areas that reported cross-classified race/ethnicity data for 2015, non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic black women accounted for the largest percentages of all abortions (36.9% and 36.0%, respectively), and Hispanic women and non-Hispanic women in the other race category accounted for smaller percentages (18.5% and 8.7%, respectively),” it reads.
Non-Hispanic white women had the lowest abortion rate (6.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years) and ratio (111 abortions per 1,000 live births) and non-Hispanic black women had the highest abortion rate (25.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years) and ratio (390 abortions per 1,000 live births).” (Emphasis ours.)
Given that there were 638,169 abortions in 2015, that means non-Hispanic black women accounted for roughly 230,000 of them — this against a few hundred deaths during childbirth in a year. But yet the problem — the issue with racial disparity — is, for the Democrats, with the latter.
Abortion is certainly legal, but it’s neither rare nor safe. On the latter count, we know of the physical and psychological scars that the procedure leaves behind. Even if you’re a liberal and feel those risks are outweighed by the benefits of terminating a pregnancy, the idea that African-American women are disproportionately taking those risks should be something that arouses concern.
Instead, disparities in childbirth are going to be the only campaign issue in this vein that the left cares about. It may be shameful, but you can’t call it surprising.
After all, Margaret Sanger would be proud; the Planned Parenthood founder and proud eugenicist was known for her special focus on black mothers-to-be. “The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members,” she wrote.
In short, when the 2020 candidates are inevitably wearing their “#IStandWithPP” buttons, you can rest assured that they’ve earned those through their priorities — in particularly Harris, Warren and O’Rourke.


  1. Harris is so full of's coming out her mouth now!!!! She could care less about how many babies PP has murdered....but I'm sure she is pleased as punch about all the campaign money they funneled her way!!!

  2. Apparently Warren never heard of the county health dept where a lot of black women can go to get FREE medical care for their pregnancies....So Warren "found herself pregnant"....I guess it just sneaked up and grabbed her in the arse? I guess she had no idea that screwing around causes pregnancy?