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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Ohio Black maternal mortality rates continue to spike

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024   

The number of Black mothers in Ohio who die during or following pregnancy continues to climb and health advocates said they hope to shine a light on the issue during Black History Month.

A 2023 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found Black women in Ohio are more than five times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications compared with women in other states and overall, maternal mortality is on the rise in the U.S.

Adarsh Krishen, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said having a health advocate can help patients better navigate the system.

"That advocate can be a family member, a friend, a spouse, someone who can be there to listen for you and help ask questions on your behalf," Krishen explained.

He also encouraged women to establish a relationship with a trusted health care provider, ideally before or as soon as possible during pregnancy. According to a report by the Ohio Department of Health, 57% of the state's 186 pregnancy-related deaths between 2012 and 2016 were preventable.

According to the health care advocacy group KFF, pregnant Black women report significantly higher rates of mistreatment by health professionals, including shouting, scolding and ignoring or refusing requests for help.

Krishen urged patients to not ignore gut feeling and be firm in asking for care.

"Trust your body, trust your feelings and make sure that you're getting your concerns and questions addressed," Krishen emphasized.

After large-scale protests last month, a grand jury decided it would not prosecute a 34-year-old Black woman for her handling of a miscarriage at her home. Brittany Watts would have faced criminal charges of abusing a corpse. Krishen added the case could prevent more pregnant women in Ohio from seeking medical attention during an emergency.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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