LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Office for Women hosted a health equity panel Friday to discuss abortion and women of colors' experiences with the healthcare field.
Doctors from the Department of Health, the ACLU and women from Black Birth Justice were on the panel.
They designed the panel to be a free space where the public could ask questions and offer suggestions on how to make women’s health more equitable.
One suggestion they heard was having more translators in doctors’ offices.
Karina Barillas with La Casita Center said issues women of color experience during childbirth are almost universal but someone needs to actually bring them to the people of power so change can be made.
She said Latinas in Louisville have experienced traumatizing questions about their nationality while they are in the delivery room.
“Having a baby at home is not even an option. Because then they were, they wouldn’t allow us to go and register our babies because they’re going to believe we just crossed the border,” Barillas said.
Many Black and Latina women echoed another message; research on the disparity of women’s health does not reflect what women of color have experienced.
Meka Kpoh with Black Birth Justice said it ignores that the people funding research are not people who look like people of color.
“So there can be a wealth of evidence out there. But it’s not published because the people experiencing this trauma don’t have the resources to put it into a published journal,” she said.
Kpoh mentioned women of color need doctors that represent their communities so that the doctor’s office can be a sacred and safe space for women of color.
“If you are a birthing individual that is a person of color and you feel that you aren’t in a safe environment with your provider…so many things are going to slip through the cracks and you are going to be at a higher risk for mortality and morbitity,” she said.
Supporting Black women in the healthcare field is one of the best things people can do, because they can work on the ground to end Black maternal deaths Kpoh added.
The panel also talked about doula’s roles, or women specifically trained to advocate for the mother’s birthing plan.