Joshua Jackson Said Wife Jodie Turner-Smith Had a Home Birth Because of Systemic Racism in U.S. Hospitals

The Queen & Slim actress opted to give birth to their daughter at home. Her husband, actor Joshua Jackson, said it's because U.S. hospitals have a 'horrendous track record with Black women.'

An image of Joshua Jackson and Jodie Turner-Smith.
Photo: Getty Images.

When Jodie Turner-Smith and Joshua Jackson became parents in the early days of the coronavirus epidemic, the COVID-19 protocols put in place by hospitals across the country added even more worry to their birth plans.

In an interview with Esquire, Jackson said that wife Turner-Smith was concerned about having to labor and deliver alone in the hospital. "The American medical system has a horrendous track record with Black women," he told the magazine.

Too many women in America die during and after childbirth compared to other similar countries. Black women are at twice the risk of maternal death compared to white women in the U.S. Because of many factors, especially racism and discrimination in health care, Black women frequently reported not being listened to during labor. Studies show that support people in the delivery room help Black birthing people get better care and outcomes. Unfortunately, the pandemic restricted access to such support.

In March and April 2020, in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, many hospitals restricted laboring people to only one support person in the room with them. In some cases, they didn't allow anyone other than the patient. This forced birthing people to choose, in effect, between a partner and a trained support person like a doula or to labor alone. After concerted outcry, the policies were reversed or relaxed, but in the interim, they spurred many expectant parents to explore non-hospital birth options.

Ultimately, Jackson said that Turner-Smith wanted to be where she felt most comfortable, a decision that he supported. "And I wanted her to be in a place where she felt like she was being heard at every step along the way, rather than having to go through that filter of being a Black woman interfacing with the American medical system," he told Esquire.

Their daughter, Janie, was born last April.

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