April 10, 2023

Documentary shows how poor maternal health outcomes disproportionately affect Black women

Screening event to take place in Jefferson City during Black Maternal Health Week

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – In recognition of Black Maternal Health Week, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Capitol City Cinema will host a screening of “Birthing Justice,” a feature-length documentary film, which centers on the expertise and pregnancy, delivery and postpartum experiences of Black women and their advocates.

The 95-minute film will begin showing at 6:30 p.m. on April 12 at the Capitol City Cinema, 126 E. High Street in Jefferson City. Following the screening of the film, a panel discussion will occur at the cinema.

Annually, an average of 61 Missouri women die while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy, giving Missouri the 7th highest rate of maternal mortality in the United States. Based on Missouri’s latest pregnancy-associated mortality review, Black women are greater than three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women are.

“Maternal deaths in our state are tragic for many reasons, one of those being that most of these tragedies are preventable,” said Paula F. Nickelson, acting director of DHSS. “We are grateful to Governor Parson for supporting our efforts to create a maternal mortality prevention plan that will ensure all women have the ability to be healthy and have access to health care before, during and after pregnancy to build a safe, accessible and high-quality system of care.”

Missouri’s latest pregnancy-associated mortality review report can be viewed at https://health.mo.gov/data/pamr/pdf/2019-annual-report.pdf, and the CDC’s black maternal health resources are available at https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/maternal-mortality/index.html.

In addition to DHSS and Capitol City Cinema, this program is being sponsored by Missouri Foundation for Health. Learn more about the “Birthing Justice” movement at birthingjustice.com.

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About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.