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Women have a greater lifetime risk of dying of pregnancy-related
causes in the USA than in 40 other countries. Women in Greece are
five times less likely and women in Spain three times less likely to die
in childbirth than women in the USA. For women of color the risks are
especially high. Black women in the USA are nearly four times more
likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
Despite the huge sums of money spent on health care, and on maternal
care in particular, the health care system remains fragmented and
women continue to face a range of obstacles in obtaining the services
they need. The consequences are evident every step of the way. Many
women have inadequate access to family planning, enter pregnancy in
less than optimal health, receive late or inadequate prenatal care, are
given inadequate or inappropriate care during delivery and have
limited access to post-natal care.
For over 20 years the US authorities have failed to improve the
outcomes and disparities in maternal health care. This report shows
the human cost of this failure and highlights the steps that are urgently
needed to move towards a health care system that respects, protects
and fulfils the human right to health without discrimination.