Reducing Maternal Mortality Rates through Health Care Reform

It may come as a surprise that the United States ranks first among industrialized nations, and 42nd worldwide, in its maternal mortality rate. In an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vice Chair of the Women’s Law Project’s Board of Trustees Cathy Raphael reminds us of this unpleasant reality. However, she also tells us that change is on its way:

Healthy women have healthy babies. The pending reform of the American health-care system recognizes this simple equation and would create for the first time a seamless, lifelong continuum of care for women. Women no longer would be charged up to 45 percent more than men for identical health-insurance coverage, and maternity and reproductive health would be part of a basic care package.

Ms. Raphael goes on to offer more detail about the need for better reproductive health care for women, as well as how better health care for women will have a positive impact on everybody. That such arguments still need to be made is somewhat discouraging, but let’s hope that these impending changes to our health-care system are part of a societal shift towards broad acceptance of the idea that women deserve comprehensive health care that does not discriminate against them based on their sex.


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The Women's Law Project creates a more just and equitable society by advancing the rights and status of all women throughout their lives. To this end, we engage in high-impact litigation, advocacy, and education.
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