The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Lone Star Killer

Sep 19, 2016

The estimated mortality rate for mothers in Texas doubled within two years, 2011 and 2012, according to University of Maryland scientists. While 72 women in Texas died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in 2010, that number jumped to 148 in 2012. The maternal death rate stood at around 36 per 100,000 live births, much higher than the maternal death rate in other rich countries, where it is 12.

Because of such shocking findings, the researchers concluded: “Still, in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval, the doubling of a mortality rate within a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely.”

Yes, something was utterly wrong for women in Texas.

First, the State of Texas cut family planning grants by 66% across the state. As a consequence of this drastic cut, 82 women’s clinics in the state were closed. Then in 2013, the state came up with a scheme to ditch Medicaid. Under this scheme, the state legally withheld funds from any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider.

Women did not just die in the hospital during or immediately after childbirth. About 60 percent of maternal deaths occurred six weeks or more after delivery, according to the researchers. They noted that this figure is particularly important because more than half of the nearly 400,000 births in Texas every year are covered by Medicaid, but benefits for many mothers expire 60 days after they give birth.

Adding to all this calamity is that Texas has the largest number of uninsured people in the country and has rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. This could well be contributing to maternal deaths and near-deaths.

Yes, as the researchers said, only a war can cause such a very high death rate during delivery. But this is a war declared by the State of Texas against the working class in general, and women in particular.