The only place Sen. (D-Calif.) has time to read anything that isn’t one of her briefing books is when she’s on a plane. In April 2018, Harris saw a harrowing story in detailing the unique horrors of maternal mortality for black women.

“For black women in America,” the article reads, “an inescapable atmosphere of societal and systemic racism can create a kind of toxic physiological stress, resulting in conditions — including hypertension and pre-eclampsia — that lead directly to higher rates of infant and maternal death.”

“It was devastating,” recalled Harris to HuffPost this week. “When I was able to see to the numbers, it propelled me. It prompted me to do something.”

Women living in the U.S. have

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