Racial and ethnic disparities in women’s health have existed for decades, despite efforts to strengthen women’s reproductive health access and utilization. Recent guidance by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) underscores the often unacknowledged and unmeasured role of racial bias and systemic racial injustice in reproductive health disparities and highlights a renewed commitment to eliminating them. Reaching health equity requires an understanding of current racial–ethnic gaps in reproductive health and a concerted effort to develop and implement strategies to close gaps. We summarized national data for several reproductive health measures, such as contraceptive use, Pap tests, mammograms, maternal mortality, and unintended pregnancies, by race–ethnicity to inform health-equity strategies. Studies were retrieved by systematically searching the PubMed (2010–2020) electronic database to identify most recently published national estimates by race–ethnicity (non-Hispanic Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, and non-Hispanic White women). Disparities were found in each reproductive health category. We describe relevant components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, which can help to further strengthen reproductive health care, close gaps in services and outcomes, and decrease racial–ethnic reproductive health disparities. Owing to continued diminishment of certain components of the ACA, to optimally reach reproductive health equity, comprehensive health insurance coverage is vital. Strengthening policy-level strategies, along with ACOG’s heightened commitment to eliminating racial disparities in women’s health by confronting bias and racism, can strengthen actions toward reproductive health equity.
ACOG Green Journal: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Reproductive Health Services and Outcomes, 2020