(Montgomery, Alabama, November 29, 2018) – The Federal and many state and local governments are not doing enough to prevent cervical cancer deaths, which are largely preventable, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued today. Approximately 4,200 women a year die in the United States from cervical cancer, including disproportionately high numbers of Black women.

The 103-page report, “It Should Not Happen: Alabama’s Failure to Prevent Cervical Cancer Death in the Black Belt,” documents how state and federal policies contribute to a treacherous reproductive health environment in Alabama, where women are dying from cervical cancer at rates higher than in any other US state. The report presents the experiences of women mostly from the Alabama Black Belt, a largely rural region of Alabama that is primarily African American and has high rates of poverty and poor physical health. Human Rights Watch found that governments are not doing enough to facilitate access to reproductive health care services and provide information to prevent these deaths.