Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Maternal Mortality is Up in the US, Yet Fighting Continues Over Birth Control and Abortion

Pregnant womanAmnesty International recently released a study showing that maternal healthcare in the US is in crisis. Where other countries have seen declines in the number maternal deaths the US has seen an increase and now ranks worse than most countries in Europe as well as Canada and some countries in Asia and the Middle East.
Some of the highlights, or I should say lowlights, from the study include:
  • The maternal mortality in the US has worsened, falling from 41st to 50th in the world. In other words, women in the US face a greater risk of maternal death than in 49 other countries.
  • Over 4 million women in the US give birth each year, and the hospital bills for this care reached $98 billion. The US spends twice as much as any other country surveyed on the fees charged by maternal health care providers.
  • Women living in low-income areas across the US were twice as likely to suffer a maternal death as women in high income areas.
Why is the US doing so poorly when it comes to caring for women giving birth? It has to do with the current lack of access to heathcare for women prior to becoming pregnant and during and after pregnancy. While healthcare reform is meant to address some of these issues, the provisions allowing for limited or denial of access to abortion care and birth control will have the opposite effect by not allowing women access to the care they might need.

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