• Press Release

Celebrate Mothers Worldwide During May By Supporting Safe Childbirth for All Women

May 7, 2011

Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Monday, May 2, 2011

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150

Celebrate Mothers Worldwide During May By Supporting Safe Childbirth for All Women – Deliver a Mother Day’s Message to Congress, Courtesy of Amnesty International

(New York) – This Mother’s Day and throughout May, Amnesty International is encouraging people to joins its campaign to save women’s lives by writing special Mother’s Day cards to members of Congress supporting legislation to fight preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth in the United States and around the world.

The cards are available at no cost and will be collected and distributed to members of Congress by Amnesty International. To sign up for a campaign event or to order the free Mother’s Day cards, visit: http://amnestyusa.org/mothersday.

Worldwide, another woman dies giving birth every 90 seconds. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented by access to medical care.

Many women die in terrible pain. Some die in their homes, untended by anyone with medical skills. Some die while trying to get to hospitals, on foot, in cars, on motorbikes while others die in hospital beds, because they reached the hospital too late to get the treatment they needed.

In the United States, despite spending twice what any other country spends on hospital care related to pregnancy and childbirth, maternal mortality has worsened, falling from 41st to 50th in world rankings for 2010. In other words, American women face a greater risk of maternal death than in 49 other countries.

“This is a human rights scandal,” says Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International. “We must do whatever we can to stop these senseless deaths.”

Amnesty International’s groundbreaking study, “Deadly Delivery,” found that two to three women die of pregnancy-related complications every day in the United States – and about half of these deaths could be prevented. In an update to the report released May 2, Amnesty International reports that the United States was one of just 23 countries worldwide in 2010 where the rate of maternal deaths increased while rates declined in 147 countries.

To respond to this crisis, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has introduced the Maternal Health Accountability Act, which promises a dramatic step forward to fight pregnancy complications and maternal deaths. Amnesty International is campaigning during May to build support for the legislation in Congress. The organization’s supporters will be meeting with 100 members of Congress during the month. Across the country, activists plan 500 events, including house parties to watch the documentary film No Woman, No Cry on the Oprah Winfrey Network this Saturday, May 7.

One key part of the bill would fund maternal mortality review committees in states to examine pregnancy-related deaths and to identify ways to reduce maternal deaths.