Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No Mothers Day

As we prepare to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States next Sunday, this video really caught my attention:

Maternal health remains a serious global concern. According the the World Health Organization's Trends in Maternal Mortality Report:

  • Every 90 seconds a woman dies from a pregnancy related death, that's 1,000 women a day
  • 90 percent of these deaths are preventable
  • 99 percent of maternal deaths that took place in 2008 (most recent data from 2010 study) occurred in sub-Saharan Africa (57 percent) and South Asia (30 percent)
  • 50 percent of all maternal deaths take place during the first 48 hours after delivery.
  • Seven million women a year suffer critical complications. For every woman that dies, another 20 experience debilitating and life threatening harm.

But women's health is not only a problem in developing countries far away. It remains an issue here in the United States, where we boast of the quality of our health care. Our country ranks 50th in the world in terms of maternal health -- lowest among industrialized countries. Women in the United States face a higher rate of maternal death than in almost all European countries, Canada and several countries in the Middle East and Asia. Surely we can do better. Yet, rather than working to improve this situation, we have (male) politicians working to limit and restrict women's access to health care. This should not be. While most of the world has shown improvement in areas of maternal health, the United States has worsened. For more detail, I recommend reading Soraya Chemaly's blog post on this issue, which made me aware of the campaign and video above.

As we celebrate Mother's Day, let's keep in mind the deadly hazards women face in becoming mothers even now in 2012. Keep these dangers in mind as well as you consider who to support in this election year. We can do better in protecting our women from needless death, but some of our politicians seem to think that our women don't really have the need or right to the care that could not only improve but potentially save their lives. 

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