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Addressing dire racial disparities in reproductive health care is critical post-Roe, advocates say

Painting of pregnant women by Dr. Lucinda Canty.
Dr. Lucinda Canty
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Dr. Lucinda Canty's 2020 doctoral thesis, titled "It's Not Always Rainbows and Unicorns: The Lived Experience of Severe Maternal Morbidity Among Black Women," featured her artwork.

How are the deep racial disparities in reproductive health care being addressed in light of Roe v. Wade’s overturning?

Connecticut nurse-midwife, nurse educator and historian Dr. Lucinda Canty recently launched Lucinda's House, to help local women of color "become an active part in eliminating structural barriers to improve their overall health and well-being."

This hour, we hear from Dr. Canty about this new effort, as well as her research on maternal morbidity. Her 2020 doctoral thesis was titled, "It's Not Always Rainbows and Unicorns: The Lived Experience of Severe Maternal Morbidity Among Black Women."

Plus, journalist and author Linda Villarosa discusses her new book, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation.

"Black women are three to four times more likely to die or almost die" during childbirth, Villarosa explains. "A Black woman with a master's degree or more is more likely to have a poorer birth outcome than a white woman with an eighth grade education. So that speaks to something beyond even the place where you are, it speaks to something... happening to Black women, even across class lines."

Villarosa stresses that while "it's important for every woman no matter who you are, to have the best health care, to demand that kind of health care, to be educated, to have someone like a doula or some other kind of birth partner with you... we can't just put this responsibility of raising our birth status of our country on the backs of individuals themselves, especially those who are pregnant... Instead, we have to advocate for changes in the system that make it more equitable."

GUESTS:

  • Dr. Lucinda Canty: Nurse-Midwife; Founder, Lucinda's House; Associate Professor of Nursing, UMass Amherst; Reproductive Health Justice Activist; Artist
  • Linda Villarosa: Author, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation; Contributing Writer, The New York Times

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live. She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH. She enjoys Victorian novels and walks with her dog Sonny.
Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.