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Reproductive InjusticeRacism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth$
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Dana-Ain Davis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479812271

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479812271.001.0001

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Pregnancy and Prematurity in the Afterlife of Slavery

Pregnancy and Prematurity in the Afterlife of Slavery

(p.89) 3 Pregnancy and Prematurity in the Afterlife of Slavery
Reproductive Injustice

Dána-Ain Davis

NYU Press

This chapter illustrates the connection between racialist thinking of the past and Black women’s contemporary medical encounters. It addresses the various ways in which medical racism is asserted when the care of Black women and their children is compromised due to racist concepts such as obstetric hardiness, hardy babies, and mothers’ being viewed as menacing or potential threats. While other stories are included, Yvette Santana’s birth story is the touchstone for exploring several ways that medical racism is experienced; her account is framed around histories and ideas about Black women, their bodies, and reproduction. The organizing concept of this chapter is diagnostic lapse. A diagnostic lapse is the consequence of racialist thinking and results in a misdiagnosis.

Keywords:   diagnostic lapse, misdiagnosis, obstetric hardiness, hardy babies, threat

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