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Democrats call on Rauner to address maternal, infant health disparities

Democrats call on Rauner to address maternal, infant health disparities

Illinois Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as eight Illinois U.S. Representatives, sent a letter last week to Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes.

In Illinois, black women are three-and-a-half times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes and black infants are three times more likely than white infants to die, which is worse than national averages.

The lawmakers urged Rauner’s administration to take action by ensuring women have access to services and supports, regardless of their insurance coverage.

“This is simultaneously unacceptable and heartbreaking,” they wrote. “More must be done to help women and infants across Illinois—especially black mothers and babies.”

According to the letter, 60 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Factors that contribute to these deaths include a delay in seeking care, misdiagnosis, implicit bias and lack of coordination between providers.

Health News Illinois is a nonpartisan, independent news service covering the Illinois healthcare beat. Sign up for a free trial to the newsletter here.

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