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Erica Hensley

Erica Hensley is a public health and data reporter based in and covering the South, with a particular focus on reproductive health and equity.

Before joining The Fuller Project, she freelanced and worked as an investigative reporter focusing on public health for one of the first Southern non-profit digital outlets, Mississippi Today, where she was a Knight Foundation fellow and her COVID-19 work helped put national attention on Mississippi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the inaugural recipient of the Doris O'Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship and won Atlanta Press Club's investigative reporting award for her work on lead exposure in Georgia.

Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia. She now splits her time between Mississippi and Georgia.

Born still, in legal and medical limbo

Bad data, few autopsies, shocked parents—the stillbirth crisis is getting another look and some tools to address it

How the latest abortion case in front of SCOTUS worries maternity-care advocates

In the latest abortion case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Idaho argues to overturn decades-old emergency law that treats millions of pregnant patients every year.

Reporter’s Notebook: ‘Incredibly unjust’ — How medical research feeds a vicious cycle of inequality

The latest Alzheimer’s breakthrough largely excluded Black women, who are most disproportionately impacted by the devastating disease.

‘My community is still dying’ — How the dearth of Black women in clinical research worsens health disparities

By 2020, there was one Black woman for every 10 white women in FDA-approved drug trials.

How abortion restrictions compare, state-by-state

Access to abortion in the U.S. depends on where you live. Increasingly, the South and Midwest are becoming complete abortion deserts. Our interactive map highlights six major restrictions in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Related: How a network of college students is preparing for post-Roe campuses

New federal report calls out clinical trials for excluding pregnant women

A new report from the influential National Academies of Sciences pushes back on the unspoken rule in medical research that pregnant and breastfeeding women are too vulnerable and risky to include in clinical trials.

‘We’re waving our white flag’: What physicians say they need from the U.S. to stop syphilis spread

Not since 1950 have more pregnant women and babies been sick with syphilis — a perfect storm of slashed public health funding and the spread of maternity-care deserts

States owe Historically Black Colleges and Universities billions, disproportionately harming Black women

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are owed billions of dollars, despite being beacons of Black excellence across the U.S.

Author Cat Bohannon on post-Roe America, asteroids and the medical “male norm”

“Eve” flips the narrative of evolution by spotlighting how the female body drove human biology.

The Carolina Abortion Fund: A lifeline for Southern women, struggles to meet demand amid state bans

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, pregnant people from Southern states that have banned abortion have flooded North Carolina clinics, overwhelming a nonprofit that helps pay for abortion and related expenses.

Women left out of 9/11 benefits finally eligible for health care, compensation

After a decade of lobbying and waiting, 9/11 first responders and survivors with uterine cancer can finally get the federal health coverage they’ve long been promised.

The only cancer that won’t get covered for women of 9/11

The women of 9/11 suffering from uterine cancer thought they were finally going to get health coverage - instead, they remain stuck in limbo.

From abortion to wellness: an “indie” clinic pivots to survive in the post-Roe landscape

After the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal protection of abortion, clinics across the Southeast and Midwest closed this summer. But Feminist Women’s Health Center, an independent abortion clinic with a long history in Atlanta,…

How a network of college students is preparing for post-Roe campuses

One drop-off at a time, college students are arming themselves with preventive emergency contraception — which could soon be one of the last legal chances to stop a pregnancy.

The mental health crisis facing Black mothers in the South


​​ Research on maternal and infant deaths disparities is now catching up to what many Black women already know: The difference in outcomes is not because of race, but racism. Black mental health advocates and providers in the South are using their own pregnancy-related tragedies to help a community heal.

Related: Why deaths by suicide often go uncounted in states’ maternal mortality studies

Deaths by suicide often uncounted in states’ maternal mortality reviews

The U.S. maternal mortality rate in 2020 reached a high never before seen since tracking began. But most states aren’t counting suicides and overdoses as a part of their formal pregnancy-related death review, which means the maternal mortality rate could be even higher.

The South’s abortion battle has a new front: telemedicine

A new bill making its way through the Georgia statehouse would criminalize access to abortion pills by telemedicine — a common, safe, easy way to end early pregnancies that the federal government first allowed last year.

‘Every shift, we’re just barely making it’: What nurses want us to know about the South’s COVID crisis

The pandemic didn’t create the nursing plight in the South, but burnout and low pay have made it worse.
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