The rate of maternal mortality in the United States has doubled since 1987.
That's the latest news on the status of women's health in America, according to a new report issued by the human rights organization Amnesty International.
In the year 2006, for every 100,000 women who gave birth in the United States, more than 13 died from childbirth complications. (In contrast, in our neighbor nation, Canada, only about 7 out of every 100,000 women will die in childbirth.) Two to three American women now die in childbirth every day. Serious but non-fatal health complications during pregnancy and childbirth are also on the rise in the U.S.
A woman in the United States is now more likely to die in childbirth than a woman in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the U.K.
The United States also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. Yet we spend more on health care per capita than any other nation.
According to the Amnesty International report, 25% of women in the United States do not receive adequate prenatal care. Those American women who lack access to proper prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Their infants are also more likely to die during or after birth.
Lack of access to health care is literally killing pregnant women and infants daily, in the wealthiest country in the world. And American women are more likely to die in childbirth now than in the 1980s — not because the quality of our health care knowledge or technology has declined, but simply because a quarter of all pregnant women in the U.S. apparently can't afford to regularly visit a doctor.
All while Republicans in Congress continue to describe our broken health care system as "The best health care system in the world."