Texas is taking its first steps to bring down the state’s maternal mortality rate. On Friday, a task force set up by the state legislature met to discuss the numbers, which place Texas at the top of the developed world when it comes to women who have died after giving birth.
Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe reports:
In 2013, the Texas Legislature authorized the creation of the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to examine why so many Texas women are dying less than a year after giving birth. State lawmakers have extended the life of the program until 2023.
Texas had developed the nation’s highest maternal mortality rate in 2014 with over 35 deaths per 100,000 births. Most of those deaths were minority women.
“African-American women are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer maternal death than women of other ethnic or racial groups. African-American women contributed 28 of the maternal deaths while accounting for only 11-percent of the delivers,” says Dr. Lisa Hollier, chair of the task force.
The group’s study of the issue shows that hemorrhaging and heart-related issues were the two most common causes of death immediately following childbirth, whereas drug overdoses were more common in the months following childbirth.
Blake Rocap, with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas says a simple solution would be to provide Texas women more access to care.
“Many times the access to care for women without health care is through the Texas Healthy Women’s program and I think it goes without saying that it’s had some issues,” Rocap says.
According to the medical journal “Obstetrics and Gynecology,” Texas has the highest maternal morbidity rate in the nation.