A recent United Nations-funded in-depth report in the LA Times this week state that black women in Texas are dying from pregnancy and childbirth at an increasingly alarming rate. These following passages stand out:
Every year, around 700 women in the United States die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. As many as 60,000 expectant mothers suffer problems that come close to costing them their lives.
America is one of the most developed nations in the world. Average life expectancy has been generally increasing over at least the last five decades, and deaths from illnesses that were once widely fatal, including polio, small pox, tuberculosis and AIDS, are sharply falling.
A woman in the U.S., where the maternal death ratio more than doubled between 1987 and 2013, is more likely to die as a result of pregnancy-related causes than in 31 industrialized countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aside from Mexico.
There are various theories why — persistent poverty, large numbers of women without adequate health insurance, risk factors related to stress and discrimination. All come together here in Texas, with a twist that has become one of America’s most confounding public health problems: African American women are dying of pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes here at stunningly high rates.
The maternal death rate in Texas after 2010 reached “levels not seen in other U.S. states,” according to a report compiled for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, based on figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Black women in Texas are dying at the highest rates of all. A 2016 joint report by Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services found that black mothers accounted for 11.4% of Texas births in 2011 and 2012, but 28.8% of pregnancy-related deaths.