If there’s one thing CNN journalists love, it’s implying that Republicans are racist. On Monday’s Don Lemon Tonight, the host trashed GOP Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) as uncaring on the issue of maternal mortality rates for African American women. Cassidy had spoken on the topic of maternal mortality rates in Louisiana, recognizing that Black women were of higher frequency; statics show four black women to every one white woman. Stating he knew the rates were different but did not know the cause, he continued that if Louisiana could “correct their population,” the state would not be considered that far out from other states’ statics.
He is taking the majority out, the group that would make the state an outlier, and concluding that without them, the rates would be in a normal range.
Facing backlash and hate from this comment and others, the Senator himself hopped on Twitter to defend himself stating that individuals and the media themselves are “cutting off and misquoting” the statements he had said, while “highlighting minority health disparities to create a malicious and fake narrative.”
Lemon himself suggests implicitly that the Senator is a racist, while other sources all around the nation are claiming that Cassidy doesn’t believe that black women and babies matter. Lemon brought on Dr. Richina Bicette McCain of Baylor University to condemn the Senator as indifferent to racism:
MCCAIN: [Louisiana’s] neighbor, Mississippi, who is its neighbor in geography, also has a very high proportion of black residents. As a matter of fact, according to the U.S. Census, they have the most black residents in the United States, yet their maternal mortality rate is almost one-third that of Louisiana. So black women are not the problem. The implicit bias and systemic racism that black women face when they see care is the problem. And that's what Senator Cassidy needs to address.
Research and studies, and even the CURE Document written by Congress, show there is “such a high frequency of abortion within the black community that inevitably creates far-reaching consequences,” for both women and the community; drawing a conclusion that this could be a contributor for higher mortality rates. On the other hand, one can’t completely ignore the differences in healthcare that seem to be brought up in every area of this issue of racism.
Other sources are complaining that the Senator got key details wrong in this scenario. The left infers that he left out the idea of systemic racism, imperial bias, and possibly the idea they have in their heads that maternal mortality rates could possibly be racist as well.
Senator Cassidy had the wrong words to describe these rising rates, but the idea was truly there. If white women would have been the outlier in this same scenario, people might have been begging for the numbers to be disregarded, all for the lower statistics. The left seeks to divide the nation even more with people like Lemon and McCain speaking into them. In reality, he was completely dismissing the idea of race in this scenario, seeming to be more unifying, by taking the outlier out of the equation so the average was lower, showing better rates for all around the state.
A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN's Don Lemon Tonight
DON LEMON: So, he is a senator, he is a doctor, but when it comes to why his state has high maternal mortality rates, he says things in black and white --- he sees things in black and white.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): About a third of our population is African American. African Americans have a higher incident of maternal mortality. So, if you correct the population for race, we're not as much of an outlier as it would otherwise appear.
4 minutes and 6 seconds
LEMON: Tonight, Senator Bill Cassidy of my home state of Louisiana facing some backlash over comments he made about the high rate of maternal mortality among black women in that state. Maternal mortality is number one -- it's a number, excuse me, of women who die while they are pregnant. Cassidy is a Republican and he's also a physician. This is what he said.
CASSIDY: 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 otherwise would appear. Now I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.
LEMON: OK. So, I want to bring in now Dr. Richina Bicette McCain, who's an emergency medicine physician. Doctor, good to see you again. Thanks for joining.
RICHINA BICETTE MCCAIN, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Hi, Don.
LEMON: So, let's talk about, alright? So, let's do the facts here. When the senator says "correct the population" that raised some eyebrows, right? Not only does Louisiana have one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country, but for every white mother that dies, there are four black mothers die [sic]. Can you speak to the senator's phrasing there, but more importantly, talk about this disparity as well?
MCCAIN: I mean, wow, Don, just wow. I couldn't believe the comments that I was hearing. But let's look at the state of Louisiana compared to the rest of the United States, why don't we. Its neighbor, Mississippi, who is its neighbor in geography, also has a very high proportion of black residents. As a matter of fact, according to the U.S. Census, they have the most black residents in the United States, yet their maternal mortality rate is almost one-third that Louisiana. So black women are not the problem. The implicit bias and systemic racism that black women face when they see care is the problem. And that's what Senator Cassidy needs to address.
LEMON: So according to the CDC, the U.S. has the worst maternal mortality rate among developed nations. It has been climbing since the 1980s. I mean, this is all part of a larger issue, right? Can you please explain to our viewers?
MCCAIN: Looking at the numbers, it is perplexing to me that, as an industrialized nation, our maternal mortality rates are going in the wrong direction. Since 2018, the CDC has clearly documented that there have been large jumps in maternal mortality rates for all groups, but especially for black women. And currently, black women are about three times more likely to die from pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications than any other groups [sic]. This has to do with access to health care, decreased access to health care. People that are living in rural areas not being able to seek licensed professionals in order to have birth or seeking prenatal care, insurance issues, socio economic issues that also relate to social determinants of health.
LEMON: Listen, we would have loved to have the senator on. We invited him on to ask him about this directly but he wasn't able to appear on the broadcast tonight. He is, however, responding on social media, essentially saying that this was one comment in a long interview where he talks about what he's doing to address racial bias and health care. He is proposing what is called the Connected Mom Act, which would allow women to remotely monitor their blood pressure, their glucose, and other metrics. Would that help, doctor?
MCCAIN: That's one step, but that's likely what he should have led with. Again, Don, I kind of hinted at it, but we need to remember that a big basis in part of why there are such disparities in health care and maternal mortality as it relates to black women compared to white and Hispanic women, has to do with systemic racism and implicit bias. It's a subject that we dance around and tiptoe around as if those are bad words, but if we don't acknowledge the issue and acknowledge our history and where we have come from, we can't move forward and address the problem.
LEMON: Calling a thing a thing, you have to call it what it is, right? Thank you, doctor. I appreciate it. We'll see you back on the program soon.
MCCAIN: Thank you for having me, Don.