Reproaction Raises Visibility of Maternal and Infant Mortality in Columbia

| Reproaction

By: Evonnia Woods

On Tuesday, August 29, Reproaction hosted its second Maternal and Infant Mortality Campaign screening event in Columbia, Missouri. The event began with a showing of Fusion Network’s documentary, Death by Delivery, which emphasizes the racial disparity in maternal mortality between white and Black women. Attendees were, once again, shocked to learn that Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, regardless of wealth and education.

This screening was held in an auditorium inside the Student Center at the University of Missouri, and the on-campus location attracted more young people than the previous screening. There were 50 attendees who watched the documentary and stayed for the panel discussion. The panel consisted of the state policy director for the ACLU of Missouri, a midwife, a doula, and a professor who specializes in medical sociology.

I could go on and on about how amazing the panelists and attendees were, but I will simply say this: Continuous questions from the audience guided the panel discussion, which led to some passionate and enlightening exchanges that resulted in memorable moments for everyone in attendance. For example, an audience member and the professor on the panel had a passionate discussion about the need for individual empowerment as opposed to systemic policy changes. This discussion led to the most profound statement of the evening, “It’s hard to be empowered when you are in birth and are being forced to make what could be life-altering decisions.”

The co-sponsors of the screening deserve a special shout out because they all contributed to an event that bridged the campus-community divide. Thanks to the Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students, Capital Area Missouri NOW, and Columbia Area Missouri NOW!

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Our hashtag for this campaign is #DeathByDeliveryMO and we hope you use it anytime you are on Twitter tweeting about maternal and infant mortality in Missouri.

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