LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Meka Kpoh founded Black Birth Justice to combat the maternal death crisis among Black mothers. With abortions currently outlawed in Kentucky, she worries about what long-lasting impacts this will have.

  • Black Birth Justice is a nonprofit working to combat a Black maternal death crisis

  • Meka Kpoh founded the organization in 2021

  • Kpoh worries about seeing in increase in the number of deaths among new Black mothers

  • The organization offers its services for free

“The numbers are going to skyrocket, it’s going to be very devastating and for community organizations like ours, now we are having to go even harder to protect our families,” Kpoh said.

Meka Kpoh founded Black Birth Justice in 2021(Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighton)

Kpoh says since Friday, she’s received numerous messages from people who do not know what their next steps should be. 

Nationally, the CDC reports Black women are two to three times more likely to die after pregnancy compared to white women. 

In an annual review of maternal mortality, Kentucky’s Department of Public Health believes the highest amount of maternal deaths among Black women happens in Louisville and Lexington. 

“Historically Black women just they don’t have the same access to abortions anyway so now with them being taken away, there is going to be an increase in people doing at home abortions which could lead unfortunately to some mortality,” Kpoh said.

Kpoh adds now mothers have fewer safe options if they become pregnant. 

“Now it’s either adoption or try to raise a baby that you can’t potentially afford to raise so, it’s just really hard,” Kpoh said. 

That is where organizations like Black Birth Justice can help. They can visit with mothers multiple times after giving birth and can provide supplies such as formula and diapers. Doulas can assess the new moms and suggest seeking medical care if need be. Check-ups cost families nothing. 

“It just makes me feel really happy and empowered to know that we are creating that space for people to have those resources for the women that are going to have to carry their babies to term,” Kpoh said.

In 2021, Black Birth Justice helped 50 families. This year, their goal is 80, Kpoh says they expect to exceed that number.