Wiley sees battling maternal mortality as key front in tearing down structural racism in New York City


For mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, few things are as symptomatic of New York City’s inequality crisis as the staggering maternal mortality rate among women of color.

That New York City has one of the highest mortality rates among mothers in the U.S. is bad enough, but the rates are sharply higher among Black and Latinx women. Wiley cited city and federal health statistics which found that Black women gave birth to 23% of all babies born in New York City in 2017 — but suffered 55% of all maternal deaths that same year.

Every year, she noted, as many as 3,000 New York City women suffer from “severe maternal morbidity,” which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as “unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman’s health” such as heavy bleeding, blood clots and even heart attacks or strokes.