WHEN TORI BOWIE'S autopsy report was released in June, the cause of death stunned many track fans. The 32-year-old sprinter had won several medals at the 2016 Olympics. On May 2, Bowie was found dead in her apartment; the one-time “World’s Fastest Woman” had been eight months pregnant and was in labor when she died.
Bowie’s tragic death caused renewed attention to an ongoing health crisis affecting Black women in the United States. Despite being relatively young and in presumably good health, Bowie’s autopsy indicated she suffered from eclampsia and respiratory distress, pregnancy complications experienced by Black women in the U.S. at much higher rates than other demographics.
In Pregnant While Black: Advancing Justice for Maternal Health in America, Dr. Monique Rainford addresses this troubling truth: Black mothers in the U.S. are dying. They face more risks in pregnancy than white and non-white Hispanic women living in the United States.