The United States Has The Highest Maternal Mortality Rate Among Peer Countries

The United States Has The Highest Maternal Mortality Rate Among Peer Countries

Photo by Kai Butcher on Unsplash

When comparing the maternal mortality rate among high-income countries, The Commonwealth Fund is concerned about this rate in the United States, along with how it disproportionately presents Black women.

The Commonwealth Fund notes that the U.S. mortality rate is exceptionally high for Black women, with more than double the average rate AND a nearly three times higher rate than white women in the U.S.

“A high rate of cesarean sections, inadequate prenatal care, and elevated rates of chronic illness like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease may be factors contributing to the high U.S. maternal mortality rate. Many maternal deaths result from missed or delayed opportunities for treatment.” (Gunja et al., 2022).

The question here is…. Why are there so many health issues and missed opportunities for treatment in the U.S. compared to other countries?

Well, the U.S. does not provide universal health care leaving nearly 8 million women of reproductive age uninsured. This lack of health care leaves many unable to be diagnosed or treated for their health issues, leading to the influx of mortality rates.

Alongside the healthcare issue, the high rate of cesarean sections and lack of prenatal care also play a major role in this high maternal mortality rate.

This is a crucial news story from a sociologist’s perspective because there is a clear trend in the United States where women are dying. Of course, there are plenty of answers as to why this is happening which are listed above, but how is this rate continuing to worsen every day?

One possible theory behind the worsening rate is the stigma surrounding abortions. There are women (and other people with uteruses) in the U.S. who would risk their own lives for the life of an unborn fetus. This “pro-life” perspective caused the overturning of Roe V. Wade, along with unjustly victimizing millions of women throughout the United States.

In the future, the best ways to reverse this rate and even out the pictured bar graph would be three key components: reversing the overturned Roe V. Wade legislation, creating equity in healthcare (and all other areas of life), and providing universal health care. With these three actions, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. (and especially among Black women) could be reversed, saving hundreds of lives.

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