Black Maternal Mortality in Tennessee: Our Shameful Human Rights Failure

In the United States, Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth or of pregnancy-related causes than White women. To draw attention to this shocking fact, advocates across the country and here in Tennessee are participating in Black Maternal Health Week this week.  

A national shame, the United States is the only developed country with a rising maternal mortality rate, largely driven by racial disparities. Research suggests that half of these deaths may be preventable. This is a human rights crisis.

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Steering Committee Nominations Open

Healthy & Free Tennessee is excited to be accepting nominations (due Oct 8) and applications (due Oct 22) to serve on our Steering Committee. We are looking for extraordinary people in Tennessee who are volunteer activists, committed advocates, and/or professionals working in the fields of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice as well as people involved in environmental protection, immigration rights, racial justice, and other areas of human rights that understand the intersection of this work with reproductive freedom and sexual health. 

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HFTN & Free Hearts Speak Out Against Coercive Birth Control and Sterilization

You may have heard about White County General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield’s unconstitutional practice of offering reduced jail time in exchange for willingly undergoing a vasectomy or a birth control implant, which he has now rescinded.

Healthy and Free Tennessee and coalition partner Free Hearts, an organization led primarily by formerly incarcerated women in support of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated mothers and their children, join the many voices speaking out against this harmful practice. Though we support widespread access to a range of contraceptive options for everyone in Tennessee, we do not support the targeting of vulnerable incarcerated populations for long-acting birth control or sterilization. We see this as an attack on the reproductive freedom of Tennesseans, particularly incarcerated women.

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Relaunch of "All Families Valued" Platform

Healthy and Free is excited to announce the relaunch of our "All Families Valued" platform. Some of you may remember that NARAL was in Tennessee last year on a Total Access TN tour to workshop a platform across the state that would lift up our values around reproductive health. Together, HFTN and NARAL decided it made sense for HFTN to take over as lead of the platform since we are a state-based coalition with a grassroots base of support. One of Anna and Briana's first tasks as new Co-State Directors is to pick up the platform where we left off last year. 

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