Racism in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Statement of Policy
Racism is defined as behavior, attitudes, and actions that reflect the belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race as well as the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social economic and political advantage of another. Racism, not race, drives health inequities and leads to adverse health outcomes.
Race is a social category, not a biological or genetic condition that elevates risk for certain diagnoses and health disparities. Racism has been and continues to be systemically embedded into our society and the practice of medicine. Racial health inequities are the result of the upstream and downstream impacts of systemic racism on the lives, health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other historically marginalized populations. Furthermore, intersections of other identities such as gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and others can further influence and multiply the impacts of racism on individuals and communities.
Racial and ethnic inequities in obstetrics and gynecology cannot be reversed without addressing all aspects of racism and racial bias, including sociopolitical forces that perpetuate racism. The actualization of an equitable health care system which serves all people can only occur through acknowledgement of the historical context from which modern health inequities grew, including reproductive injustices.
We have an obligation to work to overhaul currently unjust systems that perpetuate unacceptable racial inequities in health outcomes. As the premier organization for obstetrician-gynecologists, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is committed to eliminating racism and racial inequities that lead to disparate health outcomes through deep reflection, listening, accountability, collaboration, and direct action.
Approved by the Board of Directors February 2022