Black Women In England Experience More Serious Birth Complications, According To New Data Analysis 

Pregnant Black women in England are six times more likely to suffer from preeclampsia and other serious birth complications when compared to their white counterparts, according to data from the National Health Service.

row vs wade

Roe Vs Wade Overturned, Experts Warn Maternal Mortality Rate Will Rise In US 

The Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe vs Wade last week in a 6-3 decision, officially revoking the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. Experts are now saying that pregnancy-related deaths will almost certainly increase, especially among people of color. 

Rachel Hardeman, a reproductive health equity professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, spoke on the issue: 

“There are going to be more people who are forced to carry a pregnancy to term, which means that there’s going to be a greater number of people who are at risk. More pregnancy means more likelihood of deaths.”

Current state bans could lead to an additional 75,000 births every year for those who won’t be able to access abortion, according to one experts estimate. The bans will also likely impact younger and poorer people of color at a much higher rate.

Currently in America, for every 10,000 births, 23.8 people have died from either pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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More than half of the US states are likely to ban abortion following the fall of Roe.

“The truth of the matter is, it’s already hitting people [of color] harder than others – that’s been the reality,” said Monica McLemore, an associate professor of family healthcare nursing at University of California, San Francisco.

“Black people in the US were already 3.5 times more likely than white peers to die because of pregnancy and childbirth, according to one study looking at data from 2016-2017, and 2.9 times more likely,” according to a CDC analysis in 2020. 

“Because Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities are going to be disproportionately impacted by lack of access to abortion services, it’s going to exacerbate the maternal mortality racial gap that we’ve already seen in the United States,” Hardeman said.

“It’s translating into not getting the care they need, which can be a matter of life and death. And racism also takes an immense physical toll, so by the time that person becomes pregnant, they are at less optimal health than their white counterparts who haven’t experienced racism across the life course.”

The cumulative and chronic effects of living in America as a person of color increases stress, which can also affect reproductive health. “We know that the stress pathway is what leads to infant mortality, preterm birth, and other outcomes,” Hardeman said.

“We have to be thinking about the Scotus decision and abortion bans generally as a racist policy, because the burden will fall the hardest on Black pregnant people, it’s going to fall hard on Indigenous people and other people of color, people living in rural areas as well and people of lower socioeconomic status,” Hardeman continued.

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“The supreme court decision on Friday and bans on abortion instituted at the state level disproportionately harm people of color and reinforce a system of inequity and, frankly, of white supremacy.”

“If you think about why people get abortions, it’s often because it’s not safe for them to stay pregnant,” Stevenson said. “The people who are currently having abortions are very likely to actually have higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths and maternal mortality than the people who are currently giving birth.”

Having an abortion is “much, much, much safer than staying pregnant”, Stevenson said. 

Current research indicated that childbirth is 14 times more deadly than having an abortion. 

“We have to be thinking about the fact that because we live in a society where access to resources is based on racism and race, there are people who are not going to be able to access the services that are available.”

McLemore emphasized that direct action is what’s needed in order to protect the people in states that will be banning abortions. 

“Congress could act right now and render Scotus’s decision irrelevant by enshrining reproductive rights into national law. If this Congress doesn’t, she said, the six in 10 Americans who support abortion rights should vote for a new Congress that will,” she explained.

“We need an all-hands-on-deck approach here – with brilliance, not fear.”

African American Friends Wearing Masks

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According to an internal agency report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black Americans are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus due to issues of fundamental racism.


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Income Inequality

The Cultural Impact of Income Inequality

Over the past several decades, as tax cuts and other economic policies have benefited wealthy Americans at the expense of lower and middle-class Americans, the gap between the wealthy and the poor has continued to widen. A number of factors account for this; not only have wages remained virtually stagnant since the 1970s despite accelerating economic growth overall, but the cost of living has also increased, as have expenses for education and health care. This radical transformation in the country’s economic landscape has not only had effects on the financial world, but on the broader cultural environment that informs human behavior in society. Nearly every aspect of life is affected, from entertainment to politics to our shared system of fundamental values. 

Perhaps the most striking example of the broader impacts of income inequality is the fact that rich people live longer lives than poor people. For some groups of disadvantaged people, life expectancy is shorter than it was for their parents, pointing to the extreme effects of these people’s inability to earn as much as their parents did. A number of factors account for this difference in life expectancy; one possible explanation is racism in the healthcare industry, as minorities are both likely to receive less in wages and face discrimination in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Another factor is the fact that people are not able to retire as young as they used to be able to; many workers continue their jobs into their 60’s and 70’s, opening them up to stress and work-related health complications in old age. Additionally, as healthcare costs increase, many lower-income individuals may delay or opt out of doctors’ visits over financial concerns, leading to exacerbated illnesses and early death.

The type of work people engage in, too, is shaped by income inequality. While human societies have virtually always been divided by class, with lower classes working in service of the upper classes, the widening income gap between the classes has led to an explosion of service-related jobs, such as manicure and massage therapy. These types of jobs often employ immigrants and workers who did not receive a college degree, and are characterized by low pay and poor working conditions. Nail salons in particular are plagued by poor and illegal working conditions, leading to a statewide investigation by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

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This category of work, which many call “wealth work,” also applies to jobs like driving an Uber or delivering food. Though these jobs are beneficial to those without a college education, particularly in the aftermath of the collapse of the American manufacturing industry, they also point to a cultural shift towards more rigid definitions of class, which makes it hard for lower-class individuals to advance in their careers. What’s more, these jobs are often performed with a certain degree of anonymity, as they are performed through an app or in urban business centers far from the worker’s place of residence, in contrast with the more personal interactions between the classes of several decades ago.

The gap in income between the classes correlates with an increase in polarization in American politics; as the Right has moved further to the political right under authoritarian leader Donald Trump, the Democratic Party as a whole has moved to the left in recent years, with once-taboo leftist policy positions like a substantial raise of minimum wage, entirely socialized medicine, the cancellation of student debt, and the idea of a universal basic income becoming topics of open discussion. The wealthy class has also transformed politics through the use of substantial political donations, with Donald Trump having raised well over $100 million for his re-election campaign this year alone. Wealthy donors, including oil executives and Wall Street titans, have successfully lobbied to cut taxes on the super-rich and roll back regulations which are meant to protect customers but impose costs on large companies. On a large scale, the effects of these policy changes have been to further disenfranchise the lower and middle classes in service of the upper class, as evidenced by the rapidly declining quality-of-life of most Americans.

Bronze Age

New Study Reveals Lifestyle of Bronze Age Humans

Given the extent to which all of our lives have been shaped by the rapid pace of technological advancement, it can be hard to imagine how early humans, during an era when the most complicated technological devices in existence were iron tools, went about their day-to-day lives. But a study published today in Science Magazine presents new findings about the social behaviors of people living during the Bronze Age in Europe, and the conclusions reveal surprising differences and similarities with how humans live today. The research, which focused on groups of families living roughly 5,000 years ago, illustrates the details of marital practices, patterns of inheritance, and the emergence of social inequality within small homestead communities.

The report, entitled “Kinship-based social inequality in Bronze Age Europe,” expands on prior research establishing the presence of social inequality based on palace-like structures and elaborate burials for high-status individuals by looking at inequalities on a smaller scale, within individual households. The researchers found a hierarchy within houses, in which a wealthy and high-status family shared living space with unrelated members, who may have been servants or slaves. These conclusions were based on examinations of skeletal remains, as higher-class individuals, who were buried near their places of residence, were found with weapons and ornate jewelry, whereas lower-class people were not. The fact that these individuals were buried in the same graveyard suggests the presence of social inequality, and perhaps slavery, on a smaller scale and roughly 1,500 years before slavery was first known to exist in ancient Greece and Rome.

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The absence of written records from this era makes it difficult for anthropologists to ascertain details about family and household arrangements from the era. As such, the researchers adopted a multidisciplinary approach, taking advantage of genetics, isotopic data, and archaeological techniques. By focusing in detail on a relatively small prehistoric community, the scientists reconstructed numerous family trees spanning four or five generations, and determined the socioeconomic status and geographic origin of individual family members. 

The researchers found that in nearly all of the homes, the females were not related to the males, and only male lineages were identified. This is the result of a Bronze Age marital practice called “patrilocality,” in which newlywed wives moved in with their husband’s family, and daughters left the household. The network of marriages this practice led to, according to the researchers, “likely strengthened and upheld contacts across large distances” and enabled cultural and genetic exchange.

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Though the researchers were able to discern the marriage patterns of these early humans, other elements of their social structures remain unknown. For instance, the researchers don’t know whether women were free to choose their partners or if their partners were chosen by their families, or if women were captured and brought into the communities. They did find, however, that high socioeconomic status was passed down from generation to generation, and while the findings were limited to a small region in Europe, archeological evidence suggests that the social system applied to a broader region as well.

While the study’s results are arguably groundbreaking, they were met with criticism from the scientific community. Some scientists took issue with the researchers’ method of inferring social status by observing whether people were buried next to valuable goods, suggesting that the presence of these items could be related to reasons other than the buried person’s social status. Additionally, one scientist questioned the assumption that low-status individuals were slaves, arguing that the social dynamics were likely more complex than a master-slave relationship. Nevertheless, this new research is likely to inspire further research on the subject, and uncover more details about the lives of prehistoric humans.