Reproductive health ribbon. By Flickr user Jason Audrey Licerio

Arion Long went through multiple doctors ignoring her concerns about an extremely heavy period before she found one that believed her. With that doctor, she learned she had a tumor caused by chemicals in tampons that were unknown to her.

That was the birth of Femly, a social enterprise that improves access to healthier feminine and reproductive care with eco-friendly hygiene products. The company’s focus dovetails with Long’s desire to educate and end period poverty. But the story goes even deeper.

In 2018, medical negligence resulted in Long almost dying in labor. She found herself on life support and lost a child to stillbirth. Her story, while horrific, isn’t exactly unique.

Millions of Black women are similarly ignored by doctors. Overlapping systemic racism and sexism result in figures like those from a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which says that Black women have almost three times the pregnancy mortality rate of their white peers. Studies show that Black women don’t receive as much pain management following a C-section, and myths about Black bodies generally point to a false belief that Black people have a higher pain tolerance than white ones.

Long’s personal views on reproductive health are based on her lived experience as a Black woman. As a company, Femly supports all women, regardless of what they believe about the Supreme Court recently overturning Roe v. Wade.