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New, National Amnesty International Report Finds Appalling U.S. Death Rate for Women Having Babies, Systemic Failures and Shocking Disparities in Maternal Health Care System; California 35th Among All States in Maternal Mortality
Date:3/11/2010

te, increasing by 25 percent since 1998; currently nearly 34,000 women annually experience a "near miss" during delivery. With a lifetime risk of maternal deaths that is greater than in 40 other countries, including virtually all of the industrialized countries, the United States has failed to reverse the two-decade upward trend in preventable maternal deaths, despite pledges to do so.  

The report cited numerous causes for the crisis and offers lengthy recommendations on improving maternal health care.

Inadequate prenatal care is cited as a contributing factor in the crisis; women who do not get prenatal care are three to four times more likely to die than women who do. In California, 13 percent of women receive delayed or no prenatal care. The number rises to 14.5 percent among women of color.

Obstacles to care are widespread: the most obvious being that across the United States nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (15 to 44), or one in five, have no health insurance. In California, 20.9 percent of eligible women are uninsured; among women of color the number of uninsured climbs to 28.5 percent. The state's Medicaid eligibility level for working parents is also very low, $18,
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SOURCE Amnesty International
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