Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Mother's Work Is Never Done

7152521014Dying, for instance. Turns out it wasn't the abortion pill after all:
"A rare germ that killed four California women who took the abortion pill RU-486 has been implicated in the deaths of even more women after childbirth or miscarriage, broadening the debate beyond abortion on the eve of a meeting to examine the bacterial mystery.

While the abortion link has grabbed the most attention, Clostridium sordellii has killed at least 11 other women, women's health experts said in interviews. That's more than twice as many as have died of infection after taking the abortion pill, also called Mifeprex or mifepristone.

The numbers suggest the bacterium's threat, while still limited, could be broader than previously thought."
Women have been dying from this bug after giving birth, because pregnancy suppresses the immune system and allows such opportunistic infections easier access. One even died after she contracted the infection during her menstrual period. Perhaps the anti-choice movement would like to outlaw periods, too. And childbirth? Well, there's a reason that the only non-warriors the Aztecs let into their best heaven were women who died in childbirth:
"The maternal mortality rate for Black women (22.0 per 100,000 live births) is almost three times the rate for White women (7.5 per 100,000 live births)."
But don't let that deter the uberplan for forced conception running amuck in the fevered brains of the Religious Right. Not when Nicolae Ceausescu set such a beautiful example, and with such stunning results.

And when a mother isn't dying herself, she's watching her children die:
"Although the newborn mortality rate in the United States has fallen in recent decades, it is still higher than most other
industrialized nations – 2.5 times that of Finland, Iceland and Norway, and about three times higher than the newborn mortality rate of Japan...

A recent study found U.S. newborn death rates are highest among minorities, even when mothers have early and equal access to prenatal care. Compared with the white population, all minority races (black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian) have higher rates of newborn mortality. The odds of newborn infants dying, after all other risk factors were taken into account, were 3.4 times higher in blacks, 1.5 times higher in Hispanics, and 1.9 times higher for races other than whites...

The United States is tied for second-to-last place with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia (in all five countries, there are 5 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births)."
And this isn't new. In 1970 we were bemoaning our ranking at 15th in the world, but that was before we had fallen to 33rd by 2003.

lange_migrant_motherNow, you might be starting to feel the itch of guilt here, knowing the wealth we have at our fingertips, and the magnificent infrastructure of state-of-the-art medical care. But don't worry. Because Mom's here for you, to do what she does best of all---take the blame (click "Comments"):
"Could it be that the U.S. has more idiot mothers who don't bother to read up on proper pre-natal nutrition? Or more mothers that drink and do drugs?"
or this:
"Two major contributing factors to low birthweight babies are:
1) teenage mothers
2) drugs and alcohol
Another factor may be the unwillingness or inability to comprehend and utilize prenatal services that are available.
I concur on the statistical differences, the application of heroic measures with newborns is very aggressive here."
Because this is the land of personal responsibility, aka "Blame Yourself First". Mercury in the water? Too stressful living in a dangerous neighborhood? Poisons in your FDA-approved food? Your own damn fault! _1920764_1995150So don't come whining around the servant's entrance complaining about your low birth weight problems or your chromosomal abnormalities, when you should've just gotten off your ass and earned a M.B.A. and a 6-figure income. Then you could have HAD your precious health insurance.

But what we fail to spend for affordable, available health care, we surely make up in billions for database mining. That's the compassionate conservative, get-government-off-your-back, Texanomics way.

Thanks a lot, Bar. You mother.

No comments: