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

No Good Solutions for Women in Red or Blue States

May 9, 2022

Already thirteen states have prepared laws to ban abortions, if Roe is overturned.

And in those states, where abortion is already severely restricted, the results show the opposite of real care for pregnant women. A recent study showed such states had a 42% higher rate of maternal deaths.

The health of women and children is not only a question of whether or not abortion is legal. Pregnancy has a number of dangers to the lives of both the mother and the fetus. And in the last few years, the number of women dying in pregnancy has risen everywhere, but especially in states where women have less access to health clinics, where check-ups take place, as well as contraceptive advice and even abortions. Black women are three times more likely than white women to die of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

Maternal health problems usually have to do with lack of income, which leads to lack of health insurance. Lower paid jobs often lack benefits, like paid time off. Some states do not allow poorer women to join Medicaid, when they have no health insurance from their employer. In Idaho, Mississippi and Alabama, working women average $25,000 per year in income or less. In Texas, last year one quarter of all women under the age of 44 had no health insurance. These are states that have made it almost impossible to obtain an abortion.

The poorer a woman is, the less likely she can visit doctors thanks to the cost; she may trigger huge debt because regular childbirth costs thousands of dollars, let alone costs if bearing a child leads to special health issues for mother or child.

And the so-called blue states, where the Democrats win office more often than the Republicans do, also show differences between health care for women with insurance and women without insurance or on Medicaid. And these are the states that may already have made abortion legal or are more likely to pass laws that do so, if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

In California, the most populated state in the country by far, the death rate per 100,000 pregnancies is 4. In Maryland, which is considered the highest income state in the country, the maternal death rate is 20 per 100,000.

The rates of death for women in pregnancy and childbirth in Georgia and Indiana are twice that of Maryland, and in Louisiana, the rate of death is almost three times as high.

The right to an abortion appears to go along with slightly better health care for pregnant women.

But it is outrageous that so many women, especially poorer women, die in this day and age from becoming pregnant.