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

Baltimore’s Infant Mortality Rate Lowest Ever ... Until

Sep 8, 2003

This summer the Baltimore Health Department announced the infant mortality rate in the city is lower than it has ever been. It declined from a rate of 12 deaths per 1000 live births in 2001 to a rate of 10.4 in 2002. This rate still makes Baltimore (and any other large city) more deadly for infants than in Sweden, Japan, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Greece, Ireland–or even Croatia. Even tiny Cuba with scarce resources thanks to 40 years of boycott by the U.S. has a significantly lower infant mortality rate than Baltimore.

Dr. Peter Beilenson, Baltimore’s Commissioner of Health, attributed the decline in the rate of infant mortality to a series of programs dealing with pre-natal care.

Yet two weeks after the improvement was announced, Maryland’s Governor Ehrlich declared heavy duty budget cuts, which immediately slashed over a million dollars from Baltimore’s Health Department. Beilenson warned the cuts would adversely affect the city’s neediest population. He said the successful prenatal care programs would have to go.

This governor, Robert Ehrlich, who throughout his campaign made a point to be photographed holding his 3-year-old-son in his arms, clearly does not extend his concern for children and parenting to Baltimore’s ordinary families. Pure and simple, his proposals mean that many more babies will die!