Roundup: Mothers in New York Twice As Likely to Die During Childbirth Or First Year Post-Partum

Robin Marty

Mothers in New York are dying at twice the rate of the rest of the country, and Susan B. Anthony List gives up and that whole pesky "woman candidate" thing.

New York City is known for many things: the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park.  Now it can add something new to the list – the Dead Mother Capital of the United States. 

According to a recent report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the maternal mortality rate in the city is double that of the rest of the nation.  The Epoch Times reports:

For every 100,000 live births, 23.1 expecting mothers died in New York City, compared to 11.8 deaths per 100,000 births across the United States, according to the Health Department data gathered between 2001 and 2005.

Of the 266 pregnancy-related deaths that were evaluated, 60 percent—or 161 deaths—were directly due to the complications with the childbirth process. Of the 161 mothers who died, 49 percent were found to be obese and 56 percent had chronic problems, such as hypertension or asthma—factors that may have possibly contributed to the complications.

Appreciate our work?

Rewire is a non-profit independent media publication. Your tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.


Embolism, hemorrhage, infection, and pregnancy-induced hypertension constituted 63 percent of the childbirth-related deaths.

In an even more startling statistic, the rate of death for African American mothers was significantly higher than that of Caucasians.  Seven times higher,  according to NBC New York.  And although a majority of the deaths related directly to the birthing process, there was a large amount of post-birth violence that was seen, as well.

In the rest of the cases, where death occurred within a year of pregnancy but was not directly attributed to the pregnancy, half of these were due to injury.  “Homicide accounted for 44% of these injury deaths.  More than half of the homicide deaths were linked to intimate-partner violence.”

Nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned.  That statistic, coupled with these terrifying numbers from New York, may help better explain the timing on yesterday’s OP-Ed in the New York Times, “Let the Pill Go Free.”

The pill remains part of the solution, but its usefulness has been limited because it’s available only by prescription. As every woman who has run out of pills on a Sunday or forgotten to take them along on vacation knows, refills are not always easy to come by.

What’s more, the difficulties involved in obtaining a pill prescription, especially for women without access to a doctor, can cause gaps in contraceptive use. And the birth control methods that are available without prescription — condoms, spermicide and the sponge — have higher failure rates than the pill.

But there is something we could do to help the pill live up to its potential: let women purchase it over the counter. A half-century of evidence shows us that it’s safe to dispense the pill without a prescription.

Preventing unintended pregnancies with easier access to birthcontrol has always been a no-brainer for those of us who advocate for women’s reproductive health.  But now it’s no longer just a matter of convenience, it can often be a matter of life and death.

Mini-Roundup: EMILY’s List is accused of relaxing their standards to allow in any female candidates who are for upholding Roe V Wade (which their president says is not true), meanwhile, Susan B. Anthony List really changes its criteria, and endorses a man.  So much for “Elect[ing] more women to Congress through our connected Candidate Fund.”

June 21, 2010

Understanding Ella, the Latest Controversy in ‘Morning After Pills’ – Huffington Post

Ready to Go 12 Rounds With Boxer – National Catholic Register

In politics, being a woman doesn’t mean much – Los Angeles Times

Bork to publicly oppose Kagan for Supreme Court – The Associated Press

CA-Sen: In the mold of Sarah Palin – Daily Kos

How Mitch Daniels Can Be The Most Pro-Life, and Fiscally Conservative Too –

“Choose Life” Plate Hits the Road in Mass. – FOXNews

Republican Voters More Enthusiastic Than Democrats for 2010 Election Season –

Should Church control access to health care? – Washington Post

Minority Leader, Nana Oye Lithur clash on abortion –

Kagan, Clinton, and Partial-Birth Abortion – National Review Online

Recommended Approval of After-Sex Pill to Prevent Pregnancy – Salient News

Robert Bork to Oppose Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan –

Abortion Rights Supporters Squabble Over Bill – New York Times

Conservatives, liberal wary of Kagan on abortion – The Associated Press

Lawmakers Should Be at Least as Thoughtful About Abortion as Women Are – Huffington Post

Missouri Could Be 5th State to Opt Out of Abortion Funding Under Health Care  –

But maternal foreign aid not a top priority for respondents –

The New York Times: Abortion Advocates Discover Adoption – Opposing Views

U of I Professor Writes Book on Parental Abortion Notification – WGIL Radio News

New family planning drive targets 1.3% growth rate –

Bulgarian Teenagers to Receive Sexual Education –

Let the Pill Go Free – New York Times

AIDS Drug Combinations Given to Pregnant Women Block 99 Percent of HIV … – Kansas City infoZine

HIV/AIDS Pose Risks For Small Businesses in South Africa – Voice of America

Newly Approved HIV Test Can Spot Infection Earlier – BusinessWeek

Mothers Urged To Use Breast-Feeding Rights –

Report Says G8 Countries Short $10B On $50B Commitment, Reveals Mixed Progress … – Kaiser Family Foundation

Tom Fiebiger, Fargo, ND schools need comprehensive sex ed – Grand Forks Herald

NYC Maternal Pregnancy Deaths Twice the National Average – NBC New York

Kourtney Pumps Breast Milk on TV After Kim Slams Public Nursing – Us Magazine

June 22, 2010

Defendant in rape-abortion waives hearing – Pocono Record

Kagan’s record on abortion stirs bipartisan unease – Boston Globe

What would make one columnist drive around Wellesley – The Swellesley Report

EMILY’s List President: Our Stand on Abortion Rights Is Unwavering – Politics Daily

IUDs: the Better Contraceptive? – Ivanhoe

Anti-family planning group sues govt to stop sex education – Manila Standard Today

Opinion: Canada can help to intensify war against killer diseases – Toronto Star

Pregnancy-Related Deaths More Likely in New York City – The Epoch Times

Gay Workers Will Get Time to Care for Partner’s Sick Child – New York Times

Load More

Enjoy reading Rewire? Sign up for our email list to receive exclusive news and reporting.

Thank you for reading Rewire!