The Impact of Racism on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of African American Women

“Although healthcare segregation continued through the mid-1960s, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one attempt to grant African Americans with healthcare equal to that of whites. However, African Americans are more likely to be uninsured than whites and receive poorer quality medical care. Disparate access to and quality of care are underlying determinants of African American women’s disproportionately high HIV/STI burdens and poor perinatal outcomes” (Prather).

“Racially discriminatory policies affected healthcare access, treatment, and delivery of quality care, as well as housing, employment, and educational opportunities, and disparate sentencing laws toward African Americans. Historical and systemic healthcare barriers include accessibility and delivery of quality care by providers who are culturally and linguistically competent. Currently, the Affordable Care Act will allow individuals who were underinsured or uninsured to have access to quality care. While the long-term impact in healthcare settings is yet to be seen, early findings indicate the benefit of making health insurance available to many” (Prather).

“…strengthen reproductive justice efforts that acknowledge the historical context of sexual and reproductive mistreatment and promote social justice”(Prather).

Note on the further work that must be done beyond my research:

“Because racism is present at multiple levels within the social environment, strategies across the socioecological model are necessary to address its broad impact and may prove to be more efficient and effective”(Prather).

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“According to Frieden, although societal changes may be costly, the main obstacle to addressing these changes is a lack of political will… Since historically many policies were designed to further oppress and marginalize African American women, it is critical to examine how long-standing and even some contemporary statutes (i.e., welfare system, access to quality healthcare) ultimately impact the health and well-being of marginalized populations, including African American women”(Prather).

Citation: Prather, Cynthia, et al. “The Impact of Racism on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of African American Women.” Journal of Women’s Health, vol. 25, no. 7, 2016, pp. 664–671., doi:10.1089/jwh.2015.5637.

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