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Too Many Women Dying in U.S. While Having Babies

Amnesty International has issued a new report on pregnancy and childbirth care in the U.S., citing the maternal-health care crisis as part of a systemic violation of women's rights.

The report, titled "Deadly Delivery," notes that the likelihood of a woman's dying in childbirth in the U.S. is five times as great as in Greece, four times as great as in Germany and three times as great as in Spain. Every day in the U.S., more than two women die of pregnancy-related causes, with the maternal mortality ratio doubling from 6.6 deaths per 100,000 births in 1987 to 13.3 deaths per 100,000 births in 2006.

The actual number of maternal deaths in the U.S. may be even higher, since there are no federal requirements to report these outcomes.

Approximately half of the pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable, the result of systemic failures, including barriers to accessing care, inadequate or neglectful care, and overuse of risky interventions like inducing labor and delivering via cesarean section.

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