BATON ROUGE, La. - On Sunday, April 30, 60 Minutes featured a report by Sharyn Alfonsi focusing on the challenges pregnant women in Louisiana face in accessing adequate maternal health care.
Alfonsi's report highlighted the worsening situation for maternal health care across the United States. Women today are twice as likely to die from pregnancy complications as their mothers were a generation ago. However, the statistics are particularly concerning in the South and Louisiana, where poverty, healthcare deserts, and racial biases have created a dangerous environment for mothers and babies.
Louisiana ranks 50th in the country for maternal mortality, with black women in the state being three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Additionally, the state has some of the country's highest rates of preterm births and low birth weights.
Alfonsi's report delved into the stories of individual women in Louisiana who have faced challenges in accessing maternal health care, including a mother who had to travel over an hour to reach the nearest hospital and another who has turned away from a hospital due to lack of space.
The report also examined potential solutions to address the maternal health crisis in Louisiana and the country, including expanding Medicaid coverage, increasing access to midwives and doulas, and addressing racial biases in the healthcare system.
Overall, the 60 Minutes feature served as a wake-up call to the urgent need to improve maternal health care in Louisiana and the United States.