This study finds that in nineteen out of the thirty-four states/territories that we studied, women of color are more likely than white women to give birth at hospitals bound by the ERDs. Women of color’s disproportionate reliance on Catholic hospitals in these states increases their exposure to restrictions that place religious ideology over best medical practices.
To determine whether women of color disproportionately give birth at hospitals operating under the ERDs, we compared the percentage of births to women of color at Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals. In over half of the states we studied (19 out of 33 states plus Puerto Rico) we found that women of color are more likely than white women to give birth at hospitals operating under the ERDs. The racial disparity in birth rates at Catholic hospitals is especially striking in some states. For example, in Maryland, three-quarters of the births in Catholic hospitals are to women of color, while women of color represent less than half the births at non-Catholic facilities. In New Jersey, women of color make up 50% of all women of reproductive age, yet represent 80% of births at Catholic hospitals.
Civil Rights and Discrimination | Health Law and Policy | Law | Religion Law
Center for Gender & Sexuality Law
Kira Shepherd, Elizabeth R. Platt, Katherine M. Franke & Elizabeth Boylan,
Bearing Faith: The Limits of Catholic Health Care for Women of Color,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/3933