With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the battleground for abortion access now shifts to the states, even as the U.S. faces the worst rates of maternal mortality among all rich nations, with Black maternal mortality three to four times higher than the national average. Now a new documentary examines the crisis of Black maternal mortality through the families of two young Black women who died after giving birth. “Aftershock” is co-directed by Tonya Lewis Lee and Paula Eiselt, who join us to discuss how Black women navigate a healthcare system built against them and efforts underway to reduce racial disparities. “We know that Black women’s health and infants’ health is the marker of the health of a nation,” notes Lee. “In a system that puts profit over people, doesn’t listen and center birthing people already, Black women are even more affected by this due to the systemic racism that’s ingrained into our system,” adds Eiselt.
Amber Rose Isaac, as you mentioned, died in April 2020. She had what is called HELLP syndrome, which is a very treatable condition that many pregnant women get, but, unfortunately, when she showed up to her doctor with symptoms of HELLP syndrome, she was dismissed. They did not listen to her. And unfortunately, by the time she had a C-section, it was too late to save her.
And it is clear that these women were loved women. They were loving women. And their partners, Omari Maynard, the partner to Shamony, and Bruce McIntyre, the partner to Amber, loved them so much. And through their grief — and what I’ve learned from these families is that grief really is an expression of love — through their grief, they’ve become activated to improve outcomes for all of us. And they’re doing amazing work. Omari is a painter. He paints portraits of other women who have passed away. He reaches out to the other fathers when they lose a partner from childbirth complications, to offer support. And that’s how we met Bruce McIntyre, because Omari reached out to Bruce when Amber passed
— source democracynow.org | Jul 25, 2022