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Federal and local governments not doing enough to prevent cervical cancer deaths in Black women

The United States federal and many state and local governments are not doing enough to end cervical cancer deaths, the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI) and Human Rights Watch said in a report today issued during cervical cancer awareness month and focused on the state of Georgia.

In 2021, an estimated 4,290 women in the United States died from cervical cancer, including disproportionately high numbers of Black women. 

The 82-page report, “’We Need Access’: Ending Preventable Deaths from Cervical Cancer in Rural Georgia” documents how state and federal policies neglect the reproductive healthcare needs of rural Black women. Cervical cancer is highly preventable and treatable.  While cervical cancer mortality rates have declined in Georgia over recent decades, they are still high and racial disparities persist.

“Cervical cancer deaths aren’t just a tragedy, they reveal systemic exclusion from lifesaving health care and information,” said Annerieke Daniel, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Rural communities face great difficulty just getting to a doctor, and the stark racial disparities in outcomes show a clear pattern of discrimination and neglect.”

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