What We’re Reading: Racism and Maternal Mortality; Alcoholic Liver Disease Deaths Increased; Iowa’s Abortion Ban


Racist assumptions identified in medical education impact maternal outcomes; excessive drinking during the pandemic responsible for increased alcoholic liver disease deaths; Iowa ban will restrict abortions after about 6 weeks of pregnancy.

Disparities in Maternal Mortality Rooted in Racism, UN Report Finds

A United Nations report reveals that high rates of pregnancy-related deaths among women of African descent in North and South America are primarily caused by racism within health care systems, according to Reuters. The report highlights instances of verbal and physical abuse from health care providers, denial of quality care, and refusal of pain relief as key factors. The analysis dismisses misconceptions about lifestyle choices or genetics and emphasizes that racist assumptions in medical education, policy making, and health service delivery contribute to the disparities faced by Black and mixed-race women of African descent.

Rates of Alcoholic Liver Disease Deaths Increased During Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, excessive drinking contributed to a rise in deaths from alcoholic liver disease, surpassing fatalities from car accidents or breast cancer, according to Kaiser Health News. Lockdown measures and resulting feelings of isolation led some individuals to increase their alcohol intake, with alcohol sales spiking during this time. Furthermore, 41 out of every 100,000 Native Americans in California died from alcoholic liver disease between 2020 to 2022, which was more than triple the death rate for the rest of the state’s residents.

Iowa Bans Abortions After About 6 Weeks of Pregnancy

Iowa's Republican-controlled Legislature has passed a bill banning most abortions after approximately 6 weeks of pregnancy, according to Politico. Governor Kim Reynolds has pledged to sign the bill into law. The legislation will take immediate effect and will prohibit almost all abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, which typically occurs around 6 weeks of pregnancy.

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