Congresswoman Cori Bush, D-MO, spoke before House Oversight Committee Democrats on Thursday about the hardships faced by some Black women and their babies during pregnancy. In a tweet with a clip of her testimony, she referred to the women as “birthing people” and that sparked many to question her choice of language.
“Every day, Black birthing people and our babies die because our doctors don’t believe our pain,” Bush wrote in sharing her personal testimony. “My children almost became a statistic. I almost became a statistic.”
It didn’t take long for many Twitter users to go after her choice of words.
During her speech, Bush told the story of the complications she faced when she was pregnant with her oldest son Zion. At the time, she was having severe pains that she said her doctor dismissed. A week after she reported the pain, she delivered her son prematurely. He weighed 1 pound 3 ounces.
“He could fit within the palm of my hand. We were told he had a zero percent chance of life,” she said.
Luckily, a top surgeon in the hospital resuscitated Bush’s son and for the next month, he was on a ventilator. In total, he was in intensive care for four months.
Two months later, Bush was pregnant with her daughter. But 16 weeks into the pregnancy, she was told she was again preterm and was told that the baby would naturally “abort.”
She pushed back on the doctor’s advice to let the baby abort and demanded that she be able to carry the pregnancy. That saved her daughter, who is now 21 years old.
“Every day, Black women are subjected to harsh and racist treatment during pregnancy and childbirth,” Bush concluded. “Every day, Black women die because the system denies our humanity. It denies us patient care. I sit before you today as a single mom, as a nurse, as an activist, and as a congresswoman and I am committed to doing the absolute most to protect Black mothers, to protect Black babies, to protect Black birthing people, and to save lives.”
You can follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer
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