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Throughout U.S. history, Black women have nurtured families, organized communities, led social movements, and innovated their respective fields, leading to the vibrant world we live in today. The reality is that despite the contributions Black women make to our cultures and communities, they seldom are awarded the same level of recognition and respect that their white and male counterparts receive for the same level of work. 

Painful moments in medical history have exploited and abused Black women -- and there is still so much to do to ensure Black patients receive expert, compassionate care. Black women continue to face higher rates of maternal mortality than white mothers, and studies show people of color still receive a lower quality of care than white patients. Those facts don’t change unless we take action. 

At Planned Parenthood, we strive to acknowledge and celebrate the Black women in our own community, and the Black women who paved the way for adequate, safe, and legal sexual and reproductive health care across the United States. We do so by providing a comprehensive range of inclusive health care services, and advocating for Black women’s health in our communities. 

Black History Month has traditionally served as a space to reflect on, learn about, and make time for the stories and histories of Black communities, heroes, and activists in the U.S. But it’s time to move forward from limiting our discussion of Black history to a single month of the year. 

This year, we’re challenging ourselves and our community to focus not only on Black women who have made history in the U.S., but on the present and future of Black women across the country as well. We are committed to providing exceptional care for Black women -- and for other Black patients who, particularly because of intersectional identities, have faced additional hurdles to accessing care, including Black trans people, Black non-binary people, and other Black members of the LGBTQ+ community.

As we look to the future of sexual and reproductive health care, it is imperative that Black women are at the forefront of the movement. Historically, Black women have faced systemic barriers to care that persist today. Those barriers must be dismantled, thoughtfully and with care, to ensure that care becomes more and more accessible. 

The current moment in the United States is primed for significant breakthroughs for access to care. The Biden-Harris administration stands at a precipice of opportunity that must be crossed. So far, they have taken the first steps to ensuring that care is accessible by rescinding the global gag rule, which harms Black and brown women across the globe. But more must be done, regarding abortion care and other types of health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In celebration of Black History Month, we encourage you to familiarize yourself further with Black-led Reproductive Justice organizations, and donate if you are able.

Tags: Black History Month