A study came out last week which suggests President Trump’s policies and rhetoric are responsible for health problems among Latinos, in particular premature births.
According to the Washington Post, researchers from Johns Hopkins, Stony Brook University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco “found the risk of premature birth was higher than expected” among Latinas since Trump’s election in 2016.
Interestingly, and somewhat disparagingly, neither the article nor the study make a distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Not to mention, after a rather lengthy lead-in by the WaPo authors detailing a litany of alleged social and medical-related sins committed by the president following his election, we read this:
“The study’s authors […] pointed out that their findings show the premature birth increase occurred after Trump’s election, but do not prove it was caused by the election or the anti-immigration policies proposed and enforced shortly afterward.”
Nevertheless, lead researcher Alison Gemmill said the study “follows other studies that suggest a link to Trump.”
“It’s not just one piece of evidence,” Gemmill said. “I think we’re triangulating with all of this evidence that’s coming out, and it’s all more or less telling the same story.”
If anything, the new […] study may be underestimating the effect of Trump, said Nancy Krieger, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s School of Public Health who was not involved in the research. Last year, she published a similar study on births in New York that found an increase in preterm births among Latina mothers born outside the United States.
“There’s a price being paid for all the hateful rhetoric we’re hearing now,” Krieger said. “It’s not a game or just words. The words are meant to induce fear and fear carries a physical toll in our bodies.”
A study of nearly 25,000 births in Texas noted a correlation between anti-immigrant rhetoric during Trump’s 2016 campaign and Latina women waiting longer to seek prenatal care and seeking care less often.
Two other studies found a relationship between fear of immigration raids and negative outcomes among pregnant Latina women. In one, University of Michigan researchers studied birth records before and after a 2008 immigration raid at a meat-processing plant in Iowa involving hundreds of Latinos. They found that babies born to Latina mothers in Iowa in the nine months after the raid suffered a greater risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
And, yet another study last September argued pretty much the same thing. (At least in that one the term “illegal” is used, albeit to note how “perception” of the term is “dehumanizing,” etc.)
Ironically, despite Trump’s alleged enmity for Latinos, his approval rating among the demographic seems to be doing rather well.