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Opinion: Black mothers are dying: the toll of racism on maternal health

The death of Erica Garner should have made headlines on its own, a grim reminder of an issue we must solve — the high rates of pregnancy-related deaths among black…
Erica Garner died not long after giving birth to her second child. Source: Evan Vucci/AP

The recent, high-profile death of Erica Garner, a 27-year-old African-American mother of two — one of them a 4-month-old infant — is a tragic example of how racism and access to health care for black mothers is a national crisis.

Not long after the birth of her youngest child, Garner had a heart attack. Four months later, an asthma attack triggered another heart attack; she died not long afterward. According to news reports, Garner’s heart had been enlarged during her pregnancy, something she didn’t know before becoming pregnant.

Her death made headlines because she was the daughter of , who died in July 2014 after being placed in an illegal chokehold by a New York

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