Texas has taken top position in a sad statistic — highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the developed world. Worse, lawmakers of the state recently failed to take action that would address the astronomical rates of death.
Legislators in Texas introduced proposals to address the high rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the state after a University of Maryland study found that Texas’s maternal mortality rate doubled between the years of 2010 and 2012. Unfortunately, lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement on any significant change, and Republican Senator Lois Kolkhorst said that they failed to make a difference.
Kolkhorst had introduced a measure that would extend the Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force to 2019 so that doctors and specialists could find out more about pregnancy-related deaths and how to tackle the huge problem.
In 2016, a study from the University of Maryland found that not only did Texas have the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, but in the entire developed world. There was no explanation for Texas’s rate, and the Mortality Task Force was to look into whether there were issues with things like postpartum depression or hemorrhaging or aftercare affecting the sad number. Kohlkorst said the extension of the task force was pivotal in finding out what was causing the high mortality rate and how they could prevent it and protect the mothers of Texas.
State Representative Shawn Thierry was particularly disturbed at one of the findings of the task force — that black women comprised 11 percent of births, but 28 percent of deaths. Thierry wanted the task force to look into whether or not income level had anything to do with that discrepancy in percentages. He sponsored a bill that would do so, but it (and a slew of other proposals) were killed when tea-party-backed legislators killed every bill on the calendar that didn’t generate debate.
Theirry was disappointed as well, as he feels not enough was done to protect mothers, and particularly black mothers, of Texas.
Still, many also agree that there was a chance to make a difference, and that chance has passed until 2019, which is when the next legislative session will happen.