Rep. Watson Coleman says Sen. Cassidy’s Black maternal mortality comment ‘rooted in white supremacy’

·3 min read

Cassidy recently noted that Louisiana’s dismal maternal mortality rate would not appear so grim if you factored out Blacks.

Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey clapped back at Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy for his controversial comments about Black maternal mortality rates in his state.

Cassidy recently noted that Louisiana’s dismal maternal mortality rate would not appear so grim if you factored out the Black population. As reported by Mediaite, in a Twitter thread on Saturday, Coleman said Cassidy’s remarks are “rooted in white supremacy.”

New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (left) had some choice words about the take Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy (left) has on Black maternal mortality in the Bayou State. (Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images)
New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (left) had some choice words about the take Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy (left) has on Black maternal mortality in the Bayou State. (Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images and Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“GOP elected officials like Sen. Cassidy have no desire to dismantle these inequities — it’s easier for them to ignore them,” she wrote. “Because dismantling health inequities means acknowledging systemic racism, and it’s against his best interests to do that.”

It’s no surprise,” the congresswoman continued, “that a member of the party that scores political points by spewing conspiratorial ‘great replacement’ rhetoric and fomenting moral panics about so-called critical race theory in schools is perfectly comfortable ignoring the plight of Black American mothers.”

Watson Coleman went on to note that the pro-life lawmaker “should have a vested interest in ending maternal health disparities.”

“Instead, Sen. Cassidy seems content to let Black mothers die as a result of pregnancies that his party would like to force them to carry,” she maintained.

Louisiana reportedly has the nation’s second-worst maternal mortality rate. TheGrio reported previously that in the United States, approximately 17 mothers in every 100,000 pregnancies die, with three Black mothers dying for every white mother, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, four Black mothers die for every white mother in the Bayou State.

Cassidy told Politico that “about a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear.”

Rep. Watson Coleman wasn’t alone in condemning Cassidy’s comments. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin also took to Twitter to criticize the lawmaker.

“@BillCassidy is a sitting GOP Senator and a doctor,” Moore tweeted Friday. “He doesn’t seem to be care that Black women are disproportionately dying in his state. His indifference is sickening to read but it helps explain why America continue to struggle with a maternal health crisis.”

Cassidy fired back on Twitter Sunday morning in a thread claiming that his original remarks were mischaracterized.

“Individuals are cutting off & misquoting my statements highlighting minority health disparities to create a malicious & fake narrative,” he contended. “My entire conversation was about my work to address racial bias in healthcare & address high maternal mortality among African American moms.”

“Minority health disparity is a real issue we need to address,” Cassidy wrote, “and fake news and false outrage hurt our ability to make progress.”

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