❝ The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.
❝ The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths…rose…about 27%.
But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”…
No other state saw a comparable increase.
❝ In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. The remaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.
At the same time, Texas eliminated all Planned Parenthood clinics – whether or not they provided abortion services – from the state program that provides poor women with preventive healthcare. Previously, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas offered cancer screenings and contraception to more than 130,000 women…
❝ The report comes just as public health advocates are raising questions about Texas’s ability to prepare for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by a common species of mosquito and has been linked to severe birth defects. The World Health Organization has advised women in areas of local transmission to delay pregnancy.
Texas is one of several southern states where health officials say there is a risk of a local outbreak. But about half the state lacks ready access to OB-GYN care, making it difficult for women to obtain contraception or for pregnant women to confirm the health of their babies. Just this month, Texas’s health department drew fire for allocating $1.6m of the $18m the state budgets for low-income women’s family planning to an anti-abortion group that does not provide basic health services.
It is truly hard for me to react politely to the politics of these miserable low-life scumbags. Every now and then I step back and reconsider condemning bible-thumping fundamentalists for the crimes committed in the name of some invisible white guy up in the clouds. Then, a report like this comes along and pisses me off more than ever. Superstition and holier-than-thou smugness provides the votes for every level of support for the War on Women that today’s Republicans justify as essential to class warfare.
They couldn’t care less about clinics closing down that serve poor and middle-income women, white, Latino and Black. These are families that shouldn’t be allowed any political power in the eyes of the Republican Party. Working folks in Texas exist only to serve the comfort and needs of the Oil Patch Boys,
local flunkies for military industrial corporations with factories and forts in the state – and that’s about it. Democracy, equal opportunity, constitutional rights are good for election campaign slogans and meaningless the rest of the time.
Republicans and the voters who elect and re-elect them are as responsible for the deaths of these women as any terrorist, foreign or domestic. Their crusade has different names. That’s all.