By Lauren Longo
The United States of America loves babies. We can't get enough of them. We love them so much, we'll do anything we can to produce more of them -- restrict access to contraceptives, abortion and even information just for the sake of more babies, no matter the cost. No price is too high; we'll risk women's health, safety and futures because as much as we care about babies, we really don't care about the human beings growing them.
If we did, we wouldn't keep letting them die.
Women in the US are eight times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related causes than women in countries like Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. An American woman is three times more likely to die than a Canadian woman. In so many ways, the US is an anomaly when it comes to maternal mortality.
Between 2000 and 2014, 157 countries around the world decreased their maternal death rates. The UK combated maternal death so effectively, a British man is more likely to die while his partner is pregnant than she is.
Meanwhile, the US was the only developed country to increase its maternal death rate, and one of only 13 total countries including North Korea. And the rate didn't just increase slightly; it shot up 27 percent. In places like Texas, which has been actively fighting women's access to healthcare, the maternal death rate doubled.
This dramatic increase isn't a coincidence, it's the result of our priorities -- which don't include women.
"The argument we make internationally is that [a high maternal death rate] is often a reflection of how the society views women," says maternal health expert and Boston University researcher Eugene Declerq. "In other countries, we worry about the culture -- women are not particularly valued, so they don't set up systems to care for them at all. I think we have a similar problem in the US."