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Tipsheet

DCist Massively Ratioed for Erasing Black Women Facing Maternal Health Crisis in DC as 'Black Birthing People'

AP Photo/Carlos Giusti

On Saturday night, DCist tweeted a Thursday article of theirs from Colleen Grablick with the headline of how "Black People Accounted For 90% Of Pregnancy-Related Deaths In D.C., Study Finds." As many people were quick to point out, though, it's Black women who are affected by these "pregnancy-related deaths."

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The tweet and text of the article is even more woke as it refers to "birthing people" throughout. 

The article's text uses "birthing people" six times. When it comes to accurately referring to such people as "women," the term is four times, and, three of those four times are used when quoting a source. 

That being said, it does use terms such as "maternal," since they haven't taken that term away from us, at least not yet. 

While Grablick uses terms like "Non-Hispanic Black birthing people" and "Black birthing people," she refers to white people as "white residents," in the same paragraph. 

The report outlined wide disparities by race and geography. While Non-Hispanic Black birthing people made up 90% of the city’s pregnancy-related deaths, white residents reported no pregnancy-related deaths, despite comprising 30% of all births in the city. Wards 7 and 8 residents comprised 70% of pregnancy associated deaths, while residents of wards 2 and 3 reported no pregnancy-associated deaths in the reporting period.

The DCist's tweet has quite the ratio. 

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Beyond anti-science wokeness, such terminology causes a distraction from the real topic at hand. Grablick uses the proper term of "Black women" only once in her piece, but then goes on about "Black birthing people" like it's second nature. The point of her article is to do with a very real maternal health crisis affecting Black pregnant women, especially in D.C. 

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From Grablick's piece:

The study, conducted by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), reviewed all pregnancy-associated deaths in D.C between 2014 and 2018. The group – consisting of local experts and residents – first formed in 2018, after a legislative push from Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and calls for the city to seriously investigate the District’s maternal mortality crisis. For years, D.C. has reported a maternal mortality rate well beyond the national average. According to the United Health Foundation, the city’s maternal mortality rate in 2018 was roughly 36 per 100,000 live births, compared to the national rate of 20.7 – and the gap widens further for Black birthing people. In 2018, the national Black maternal mortality rate was 47.2 per 100,000 live births; for Black birthing people in D.C., the rate was 70.9. 

...

D.C.’s pregnancy-related mortality rate was nearly 44 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to the national rate of 28 over the same period. Unlike maternal death, a pregnancy-related death refers to any death within one year of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiological effects of pregnancy.

It's a problem, but people have understandably been distracted and thus focused on how Grablick just won't accurately refer to Black women as such. 

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In February, a report by Lindsey Tanner for the Associated Press also warned how "Pregnancy-related deaths climbed in pandemic’s first year."

Not only are Black women affected by higher maternal mortality rates, but they're also tragically over-represented when it comes to abortion, not mentioned in Grablick's report. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control for 2019, Black women account for 38.4 percent of abortions. These women also have the highest abortion rate of 23.8 abortions per 1,000 women and ratio, of 386 abortions per 1,000 live births. 

In D.C., which has no gestational limit on abortion, Black women account for 53.4 percent of abortions.

We've seen this ridiculous wokeness before. As Matt's highlighted, The Washington Post went with a headline that sought to erase women, when it comes to how "Pregnant people at much higher risk of breakthrough covid, study shows."

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