8 months ago

Maternal Mortality, Abortion, and Race

CBS News misled its viewers to believe that the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of all wealthy nations and then deceitfully blamed a lack of abortions and an abundance of racism for this.


CBS Evening News’ recent “in-depth” report on maternal mortality: https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/kevin-tober/2022/08/17/cbs-falsely-equates-abortion-bans-high-maternal-mortality-rates

A 2016 paper in The Lancet titled “Global, Regional, and National Levels of Maternal Mortality, 1990–2015” documents these facts:

• “Despite knowledge of its importance, only a few countries using ICD-10 reliably code late maternal deaths. This is especially egregious because many of the same countries who have completed multiple confidential enquiries also have not recorded a single late maternal death in their official statistics. Denmark, Ireland, Finland, and the UK all fall into this category. Australia, France, and South Africa likewise completed multiple confidential enquiries and have recorded a total of eight maternal deaths combined in the entirety of their official statistics.”
• “The USA … is also one of the only countries that has proactively improved its civil registration system with addition of a pregnancy checkbox on the standard death certificate….”

A 2020 report by U.S. Government Accountability Office documents that the U.S. defines pregnancy-related deaths to include “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 1 year of the end of a pregnancy— regardless of the outcome, duration or site of the pregnancy—from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.” https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-248

A 2017 article in The Economist titled “Is Pregnancy in America Much Deadlier Than in Other Rich Countries?” reports:

• “The question is harder to answer than you might think.”
• In rich countries, these deaths are tallied from vital-registration systems which in turn compile data from death certificates. These, however, are known to undercount maternal deaths, partly because doctors must select a cause of death from thousands of codes. They are more likely to consider the subset reserved for medical problems caused by pregnancy when the form has a checkbox asking whether the woman had been pregnant.
America added this checkbox to its standard death certificate in 2003” and “a recent study found that its growing use accounted for 80% of the steep rise in maternal mortality recorded in 2000-14. Although many maternal deaths that would otherwise go unrecorded are now tallied thanks to the checkbox, it is also often marked erroneously—showing recent pregnancy on the death certificates of women who died in their 50s, for example.”
• “According to data from death certificates, America’s rate is 21 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In Britain, which does not use the pregnancy checkbox, the rate is four to five times lower. It is a rate that British health authorities do not consider reliable.”
• “In America this type of detailed system, run by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), counts maternal deaths that occur up to a year after pregnancy. (Deaths resulting from pregnancy, such as suicides caused by post-partum depression, can strike many months after delivery.) By that measure, America’s maternal mortality rate in 2011-13 (the latest period for which data have been published) was 17 deaths per 100,000 live births. Maternal deaths tallied in the same way in Britain for 2012-14 result in a mortality rate that is almost exactly the same.”

News reports, as well, as the testimony of Charles Johnson in a medical negligence lawsuit surrounding Kira’s death all show that abortion played no role in this tragedy:

Association does not prove causation, and this fact is commonly taught in high school:

Studies show that women who have an abortion are much more likely to die young than those who deliver a child:

• “Increased risks of death were 45%, 114% and 191% for 1, 2 and 3 abortions, respectively, compared with no abortions after controlling for other reproductive outcomes and last pregnancy age.” https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/23/4/569/427991

• “The mortality was lower after a birth (28.2/100,000) than after a spontaneous (51.9/100,000) or induced abortion (83.1/100,000).” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002937803011360

• “Compared with women who delivered, those who aborted had a significantly higher age-adjusted risk of death from all causes (1.62), from suicide (2.54), and from accidents (1.82), as well as a higher relative risk of death from natural causes (1.44), including the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (2.18), circulatory diseases (2.87), and cerebrovascular disease (5.46).” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12190217/

Obesity, HIV, and high blood pressure increase the risk of maternal mortality:


Based on four different methods that produced roughly the same results, a 2019 paper in the Annals of Family Medicine found that “social and behavioral factors”—not “deficiencies in health care access or delivery”—are the main drivers of life expectancy disparities in the United States: https://www.annfammed.org/content/annalsfm/17/3/267.full.pdf

The lowest rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. is not among white women or Asian women but Hispanic women: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-248

Victim mentalities reduce the willpower needed to make positive changes: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1503530112

CBS News footage reproduced under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law for “purposes such as criticism” and “comment” (17 U.S.C. §107). https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107

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