The image of a group of white men in suits celebrating the passage of a health care bill that would snatch away affordable access to health care from millions of people—including those living in poverty, people of color, people with disabilities or mental-health issues, and women planning to give birth—is one that will forever be etched into my mind.
The Trump administration’s American Health Care Act would let states opt out of requiring that health insurance plans cover essentials like contraception, maternity care and emergency services. It would also make steep cuts to Medicaid, which helps low-income and disabled populations afford health care and pays for half of all births in the United States. The AHCA is bad news for health care and worse news in terms of the epidemic of pregnancy-related death and disability that’s both needless and ongoing in the U.S. in 2017. The rate of pregnancy-related deaths among American moms is increasing.
The March for Moms, which will take place on Mother’s Day in the nation’s capital, is extremely timely. Thousands of people will march on Washington, D.C., and gather on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Lawn for the first-ever national rally that specifically raises awareness for the health of moms, babies and families. We march because we believe that all moms and their families have the right to affordable health care. Because we believe that all moms deserve to survive pregnancy and childbirth, regardless of class or race. Because we believe it’s wrong and unjust that black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than white women, and it must stop.