A Dozen Amnesty International Activists to Hand-Deliver Signed Cards Urging Action to Prevent Maternal Deaths to Rep. Boehner on Tuesday, July 5

Press Release
June 30, 2011

A Dozen Amnesty International Activists to Hand-Deliver Signed Cards Urging Action to Prevent Maternal Deaths to Rep. Boehner on Tuesday, July 5

 

Human Rights Activists to Meet With House Speaker Afterward to Discuss Maternal Health Accountability Legislation

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org

(Cincinnati, Ohio) - On Tuesday, July 5, a dozen Cincinnati-area human rights activists will deliver a stack of signed Mother's Day cards, including some signed by luminaries like Christy Turlington Burns, to House Speaker John Boehner at his district office, urging support for legislation to help reduce the number of women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the United States. Under Amnesty International's sponsorship, a smaller group of activists will meet with Boehner at 1 p.m. to advocate for the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011.

Activists will be available for a photo opportunity with the large cards (2 by 3 feet) and to speak with reporters at 12:45 p.m. outside the office located at 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester, Ohio

The bill addresses the most pressing recommendations made in Amnesty International's groundbreaking 2010 report, "Deadly Delivery," on maternal mortality in the United States.

"The Maternal Health Accountability Act takes a major step towards reducing the needless loss of women's lives that tragically affect so many families," said Amnesty International maternal health researcher Nan Strauss, co-author of the report. "Government has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights. Unfortunately, many women do not have access to good quality health care that would protect their right to a safe and healthy pregnancy."

An update to the "Deadly Delivery" report issued in May showed the situation has grown worse, with the United States now ranking behind 49 other countries - including all of the countries of Western Europe - in terms of maternal mortality.

The disparities are shocking. The risk of dying in childbirth is three times higher for black women; women in low-income communities are twice as likely to die as women in higher-income communities. In addition, Amnesty International found that severe pregnancy complications are rising alarmingly.

Ohio ranks 18th nationwide in terms of maternal mortality, with 8.4 deaths per 100,000 live births.

During May, tens of thousands of Amnesty International activists nationwide signed Mother's Day cards and took action online urging members of Congress to support every woman's right to a safe and healthy pregnancy by passing the bill. Amnesty is delivering the cards to individual members of Congress and meeting with representatives to push for the legislation.

The bipartisan Maternal Health Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, addresses the most urgent recommendations of Amnesty International's research by:

  • Helping to establish a maternal mortality review board in every state, to analyze maternal deaths and recommend changes to prevent future deaths;
  • Fighting disparities in maternal health outcomes with new research and pilot programs, and;
  • Combating severe maternal complications by expanding research, data collection and analysis.

To date, 49 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors to the bill.

To schedule an interview with an Amnesty International expert on maternal mortality in the United States, please contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, strimel@aiusa.org