By the time you finish reading this post, one woman will have died due to conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. Around the world, one woman dies every 90 seconds in pregnancy or childbirth-that’s more than 350,000 women every year. And here in the United States, more than two women die every day.
These deaths are a human rights violation. Why? Because women are not dying of diseases that doctors cannot cure, but because societies have yet to decide that their lives are worth saving.
As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day, we recognize the women all around the world who die while trying to give life.
In the United States, women have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than women in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea. In addition, African American women are nearly four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Amnesty International found that most of these deaths could have been prevented with access to good quality health care.
Amnesty found that our health care system has many flaws that contribute to the number of maternal deaths including; discrimination, bureaucratic and language barriers to care and lack of information about maternal care and family planning options.
In the last Congress, Representative Roybal Allard introduced the MOMS for the 21st Century Act to expand access to quality maternal health care and remove barriers to care. Unfortunately, Congress adjourned before they could vote on this crucial piece of legislation. In the new Congress, we’ve been working hard to ensure that this bill is reintroduced and that our elected representatives do not forget about our nation’s maternal health crisis.
We are thrilled to share with all of our members and activists the recent introduction of H.R. 894, the “Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011” by long time advocate and champion Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)! We now need your help to ensure that H.R. 894 becomes law – take action and ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 894 now!
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we need to act now so that this can be a day of celebration for everyone. In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, Amnesty will be sponsoring events all around the country to spotlight the women who die everyday from complications in pregnancy and child birth. Help us fight for maternal health by getting involved with one of our events or hosting your own!
Heba Dafashy contributed to this post