Representative Keith Ellison made a plea to Democratic voters this week, saying “Women are dying because we are losing elections” at an event hosted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
“We don’t have the right to lose a damn election. We have to win. We have to win,” the DNC vice chairman said at the event, adding that maternal mortality is rising in states such as Texas and Missouri.
In Missouri and in Texas, maternal mortality has risen. Women are dying because we are losing elections. We don’t have the right to lose a damn election. pic.twitter.com/PljmVSPKYp
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) April 13, 2018
The Minnesota Democrat, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, was apparently talking about GOP efforts to chip away at Obamacare. Republicans in December eliminated the individual insurance mandate, an unpopular part of the law that required individuals to pay a fine if they chose to opt out of purchasing health insurance.
The U.S. has experienced rising maternal-mortality rates in the last 15 years while other countries, especially wealthy ones, have seen them decline. There were 17 maternal deaths as a result of pregnancy for every 100,000 births in America, according to 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some studies have placed the number even higher.
Missouri saw 19.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in 2016. Many were cardiac-related, however, meaning the state’s high obesity and smoking rates may have been a contributing factor. 17.5 percent of Missouri also women forwent prenatal care in the first trimester, contributing to complications.
Meanwhile, the Texas numbers were grossly overestimated, according to subsequent reports.