Black women are no strangers to uterine fibroids.
In fact, nine out of 10 Black women will develop fibroids before they’re 50 years old, and their symptoms are often more severe than those of non-Black women. Additionally, complications from fibroids can lead to miscarriage, infertility, and maternal death — which also disproportionately impacts Black women.
Though considered “benign,” because they are not cancerous, for the estimated 26 million Americans who experience fibroids, the impact on their lives is enormous. And though many haved lived and/or suffered with fibroids — mostly in silence and without any type of cure — that might change in the near future. We have Senator Kamala Harris to thank for that.
On Thursday, Harris introduced a bill to the Senate that aims to fund research and education on uterine fibroids. A companion bill has also been brought to the house by New York representative Yvette Clark. This new legislation comes on the tail end of July’s Fibroids Awareness Month, an initiative designed to bring awareness to the condition that affects millions of people with uteruses and yet remains understudied and under-resourced.
“This bill is an important first step toward making women’s health care a priority,” Rep. Clarke told Refinery29.
Harris’ proposed uterine fibroids bill would put $30 million a year from 2021 to 2025 into the coffers of the National Institutes of Health to expand uterine fibroids research, create a uterine fibroids public education program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and improve data collection on which groups are affected by uterine fibroids.
The bill is supported by the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, The White Dress Project and other organizations.