Reproductive Justice in Communities of Color & the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis

At no time in our State’s history, have Women, especially Black Women, had the reproductive justice that they deserve. In spite of the advances that the State of California has made in reducing maternal & infant mortality by 55%, Black Women in California continue to die at a rate three to four times higher than white women from pregnancy or delivery complications – regardless of education, income, or any other socio-economic factors. I applaud the advocacy & legislative work of Senate Bill 464 – the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act, but believe implicit bias training for perinatal healthcare providers is not enough nor does this provide holistic healthcare, reproductive justice or redress to Black Women in our State. Furthermore, data has consistently shown significant harm & disparity in reproductive justice and health outcomes in this State for Black, Brown & Indigenous Women as a whole.  This is unacceptable and our State government has yet to make amends and finally provide equity and reproductive justice to ALL who have long been most  in need. When #OurCalifornia’s most marginalized are protected and succeed, we all win.

As your gubernatorial candidate for 2022, I proudly call for our government to finally commit to ensuring reproductive justice in Communities of Color and finally addressing the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis within our communities and State.  I intend to End Poverty in California, and these are the policies and the vision I believe will achieve it:

  • Since 2006, California has seen maternal mortality decline by 55 percent between 2006 to 2013, however #OurCalifornia needs an update from the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (CA-PAMR) for Maternal and Infant data for years 2014-2020 to identify pregnancy-related deaths, causation and contributing factors, and then make recommendations on quality improvements to maternity care.  Specifically reviewing the successes and the continued extreme racial disparities for Black Women in the State of California which have not seen declines;
  • As evidence-based strategies have confirmed, socially disadvantaged & at-risk expectant mother’s + babies have significantly better birthing and early life outcomes when receiving care from a Doula, I will expand Statewide culturally competent care through the utilization of Black Doulas State program to effectively address maternal and infant needs of Black Women that our current medical system and structure continue to ignore;
    • Will provide training and certification for State Doula job to ensure a culturally competent qualified individual is paired with each Black expectant mother throughout her pregnancy & 2-year postpartum process;
  • Increase State funding to hospitals where concentrations of Black Mothers and Parents receive care, so these hospitals can implement evidence-based protocols and fine tune culturally competent care strategies to lower Black Maternal and Infant mortality rates;
  • Require public and private hospitals operating within the State of California to establish standard protocols to rapidly address postpartum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal mortality in Black Women in our State;
  • To improve the well-being of California’s highest at-risk Mothers of Color, particularly Black Mothers, we must legislate with data, intention & different frameworks to make their entire lives during this critical time much better – and that involves economic parity & redress.
    • I will expand San Francisco’s trial program, the Abundant Birth Project, to all Black, California Indian & other Indigenous expecting mothers residing within the State of California. This additional $1000/month pregnancy supplemental income program recognizes Health goes beyond medical intervention, and the State has a responsibility to protect the lives of both the mother & baby from first trimester thru two years postpartum within a system which has consistently devalued and harmed their lives;
  • Provide economic, medical & psychological Redress to all Survivors/Lineage of California’s forced sterilizations & eugenics predominantly completed on Black, Brown & Indigenous Women of Color by the California Corrections Department and Rehabilitation from 1909-2014.  These medical procedures were not done for the betterment of the individual, reducing recidivism or the benefit of community; instead these acts were cruel, inhumane & a violation of State & National Medical oaths, and internationally recognized human rights;
    • All affiliated CDCR employees, healthcare providers, practitioners & clinics who performed these acts will be held to account under the fullest extent of the law under my Government;
  • Develop a new State Office, Reproductive Justice for the Underserved & Marginalized:
    • Research;
    • Policy Development;
    • Compose and Publish a State Resource Guide for Holistic Treatment Options by County for Reproductive Justice for the Underserved & Marginalized;
    • Hire Culturally-Competent Care Consultants who work with Local Public Health Departments, Private + Public Hospitals and Clinics to appropriately train Sexual Health and Reproductive Health on the needs of #OurCalifornia’s underserved & marginalized communities – specifically including but not limited to Trans/Gender Non-binary/Nonconforming, Black Maternity & Infant Mortality, California Indian Maternity & Infant Mortality, Intersectionality of #OurCalifornia’s Poor, Environmental Injustice & Healthcare disparities;
    • Support grassroots organizations and local community mutual aid efforts to include but not limited to:
      • Diaper Banks;
      • Intimate Hygiene, Tampon, Sanitary Napkins & Condom Bank;
      • LGBTQIA sexual and reproductive health services;
      • Specifically Trans, Gender Non-Binary & Gender nonconforming sexual and reproductive health services including Transitioning, Hormone Replacement Therapy;
    • Receive complaints and determine economic sanctions for hospitals, clinics & healthcare service providers in the State failing to serve or provide reproductive justice to #OurCalifornia;
  • Eager to work with the California Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Task Force to ensure all recommended strategies can be funded and achieved for #OurCalifornia through public policy, action & the robust social safety nets we deserve in our resilient and sustainable communities;
  • I look forward to working with Sister Song, Black Women for Wellness (Reproductive Justice Policy Work), California Black Women’s Health Project, Black Women’s Health Imperative, California Women’s Law Center, Access: Women’s Health Justice, Building Healthy Communities, 4Kira4Moms, National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI), NIA Collective, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, The Women’s Foundation of California, Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM), California Immigrant Policy Center, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, Oasis Legal Services, Los Angeles Coalition for Reproductive Justice, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Institute for Policy Studies & other grassroots and impactful organizations, advocates, activists and pillars in Black Maternal Health, reproductive justice for Communities of Color, human rights, gender-inclusivity and research communities to ensure the needs of ALL in #OurCalifornia are inclusive and sustainably met;
  • State Deputization of chosen grassroots nonprofits who are successfully providing dynamic and critical social services to #OurCalifornia to act as an extension of our government in expanding their work and services with the funding, staffing and State recognition they deserve;
    • Will participate within the State Jobs Guarantee Program;
  • In the true spirit of Upton Sinclair’s End Poverty in California campaign, I will call on fellow Citizens, Socialists, Governors, and fellow Socialist Gubernatorial campaigns across this country to adopt and implement the same.