Friday, July 12, 2013


Guardian: US maternal mortality on par with Macedonia—and some counties much worse

by Larry Geller

Spending more time reading the Guardian newspaper on-line and in their Android app has given me new respect for the newspaper—especially since the natural contrast is our own local, monopoly, right-leaning (mostly) daily paper.

I’m not much into celebrity news and I’m not a bump-watcher. I don’t follow gossip about British royals. But who could resist a headline like “Kate Middleton's baby and the American way of birth?” Indeed, you won’t see this kind of reporting in papers this side of the pond very often (this is a snip from the middle, after the celeb stuff):

Middleton is giving birth in the UK, where maternal mortality rates are about half of what they are in the United States. On this side of the pond, maternal mortality is on par with countries like Macedonia. And unlike most of the world, where rates of women dying in childbirth have gone down, in the United States our maternal mortality numbers have gone up since 1990. There are counties in the US where maternal mortality rates rival those of Sierra Leone, which has some of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the world.

[The Guardian (UK), Kate Middleton's baby and the American way of birth, 7/12/2013]

The article extensively analyzes both the popular image and the reality of motherhood in the US today, and is very worth reading in its entirety. I’ll snip one more bit from the article in case you don’t click over, though I hope it will convince you to do so:

While we have an entire political party that bills itself as "pro-family", that same party staunchly refuses to support legislation that actually helps modern families, going so far as to try to end the food stamp program this week. Republicans routinely use many family arrangements as examples of bad choices or moral decay, railing against same-sex marriage, single mothers and teen moms. While young low-income mothers of color are imaged as the most immoral and least responsible, women who wait to have children so they can pursue education or careers are also on the hook: they're ostensibly using birth control, having sex for pleasure and selfishly putting themselves ahead of their reproductive duties.


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