Black women face much higher risk of pregnancy-related death in Texas

Any time you’re being compared to a third world country, it’s not a good thing.

Black women bear the greatest risk for pregnancy-related death in Texas by far, according to a much-awaited new report, commissioned because the state rate resembles that of many Third World countries.

The report, which follows the publication of a national study that found Texas’ maternal mortality rate has doubled since 2011, ranked heart conditions, overdose by legal or illegal drugs and high blood pressure of pregnancy as the leading causes of such deaths.

“This confirms what we feared – that many of these deaths could be prevented,” said state Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, the House author of the 2013 bill that created a Department of State Health Services maternal mortality task force and charged it with producing biennial reports and recommendations. “It’s a travesty that this is happening.”


Marian MacDorman, the University of Maryland-based lead author of the Obstetrics & Gynecology study said she applauds the Texas team for “looking into the deaths in greater detail.”

“Although the Texas Department of Health study uses different methods and data sources from mine, I think we both agree that maternal mortality is a serious problem in Texas,” said MacDorman. “I especially appreciate their policy recommendations for how to reduce it.”

The Texas report found most of the state’s maternal deaths – 60 percent – occurred between 42 days and a year after delivery. MacDorman’s study identified 262 Texas deaths in the same two-year period based only on those who died within 42 days.

Walle said he is hopeful the report makes an impression on the 2017 Legislature.

“I’m not na├»ve to the fact we haven’t expanded Medicaid, but something needs to be done to increase access to pregnant women,” said Walle. “We can’t keeping letting federal dollars go to other states while these women are dying.”

See here for more about the previous study that showed an overall rise in maternal deaths in Texas. The story lists a number of things that could be done to help this situation, all of which involve expanding access to health care, most of which could be accomplished by expanding Medicaid. Since we know that won’t happen under the current leadership, none of whom has been quoted in a story I’ve seen so far, the question is what if anything they would propose to do about it. My guess is it would involve tort reform and high-deductible health plans, because we know those fix everything. Pro Publica has more.

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6 Responses to Black women face much higher risk of pregnancy-related death in Texas

  1. Adoile says:

    great article! the extreme racial disparities in Texas are a long list.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    If you are on Medicaid, or would like to be, news flash: you can’t AFFORD to have a child right now. Adding more people to the Medicaid rolls just encourages even more people to be irresponsible.

    We should be expending our efforts trying to figure out how to get people OFF of the medicaid rolls.

  3. Ross says:

    So, Bill, are you arguing that poor people should abstain from sex?

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    I’m arguing that poor people should be even more responsible than people with the means to raise a child. People who pay their own way, carry insurance, etc. are generally pretty careful when it comes to only having planned kids. People who can’t afford to have or raise kids should be at least as responsible as those who do pay their own way, don’t you think?

    The generic birth control pills are pretty cheap, even with no insurance. They should be sold OTC, with just a consult from a pharmacist. Condoms? Also pretty cheap. If you don’t have the money for cheap birth control pills AND a condom? Then yeah, maybe you should abstain.

  5. Terrance Jewett says:

    I’m so happy my mother didn’t listen to you Bill. Because if she did and poor people were not allowed to have babies I wouldn’t be here.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    Everyone should abstain from sex. Think about it. Sex outside of marriage leads to all kinds of misery. Who can argue with that. Just say no. Do not fornicate.

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