On Dec. 30, social justice advocate, Erica Garner, died after suffering from cardiac arrest. Less than five months ago, she had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Garner went into cardiac arrest after having an asthma attack just one week earlier, and was placed in a medically induced coma so after.
Due to a lack of oxygen, Garner reportedly suffered extensive brain damage.
She was 27.
In August, Garner gave birth to her second child, a son named after her late father Eric. He was born at seven-and-a-half months and weighed just 4 pounds, 11 ounces at his date and time of birth.
While Garner’s death has been difficult enough to process, Vox is bringing to light one shocking possibility: that she may have been a victim of poor childbirth rates and care for Black women in America.
While medical professionals are still seeker answer to why more Black women die than any other ethnic group in the country during pregnancy and childbirth–they are three to four times more likely not to survive than White women– the most obvious answer is a lack of or very limited access to quality, unbiased medical care.
A press release sent to EBONY from Moms Rising states that this disparity is cause by many factors such as socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, education, insurance coverage and even implicit bias in terms of how health care is delivered.
Community health among Black and White women (or the lack thereof in the case of Black women) is also a major contributor to the increased rate of death for African-American women due to pregnancy complications.
“The combination of institutionalized racism, chronic stress, and the physical stress of childbirth can be deadly, and some believe that this was the case for Garner, as it is for so many Black women in the United States,” Katie Mitchell wrote for Bustle. “And as we mourn [Garner’s] loss, we need to have a conversation about why maternal mortality disproportionately affects Black women in the US, and what can be done about it.”