When the GOP puts out “pro-life” ads, they don’t show the real consequences of denying women the right to control their reproductive destinies. They don’t show the staggering number of women who are not healthy enough for pregnancy, or suffer from complications. They show you sugary images of smiling families and healthy babies. “Pro-life” as pro-family is a blatant lie, and it’s time the GOP fessed up.
Amnesty International has released a study (PDF) of the statistics for maternal health care in the US, and the results are more than a little disturbing. As the same Tea Party Republicans who call themselves “pro-life” condemn birth control and Planned Parenthood, they stand against Obama’s much needed health care reform that would bring health insurance to millions. The United States currently ranks 50th in the world for maternal deaths. This is worse than most European countries, Canada, and some countries in Asia and the Middle East. In fact, the number of maternal deaths grew in the US from 1990 to 2008, while 147 foreign countries experienced a decline.
The biggest problem for women was a lack of access to healthcare resulting in women becoming pregnant while having untreated health issues and a lack of pre-natal and post-partum care. Uninsured women are less likely to be in good health when they become pregnant, yet the GOP doesn’t see fit to extend them healthcare. The cost of maternal healthcare is incredibly high but most providers do not accept Medicaid, and it is incredibly difficult to get Medicaid once pregnant.
The number of women who die during childbirth is still frighteningly high, and is at a 20 year peak. The number increases significantly for any minority. The number of women who suffer from severe complications has increased by 25%, and the report also
“found a lack of comprehensive and accurate data on maternal mortality, morbidity, and health care practices; a lack of coordinated oversight needed to improve the maternal care system and research; inadequate review of data; and a lack of concerted efforts to eliminate disparities.”
In a time when costs related to pregnancy and birth make up 25% of all charges to Medicaid, why is the GOP not increasing access to family planning for women instead of slashing the Medicaid budget? When it has been proven that a child whose mother dies is 3-10 times more likely to die, why are none of the GOP leaders calling for better healthcare for pregnant mothers and oversight boards for the statistics? When the GOP uses every opportunity to claim it supports families, why is it driving them to poverty by trying to force women to have children they may not be able to afford or may not be healthy enough to have? Why when the GOP says it stands with families, is it doing everything it can to break them apart?
It’s time to tell the GOP that healthy families need healthy women, and family planning is a key part of this goal.