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Newborn Survival

From an AP article on

America may be the world's superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia. Among 33 industrialized nations, the United States is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia's rate is 6 per 1,000. "We are the wealthiest country in the world, but there are still pockets of our population who are not getting the health care they need," said Mary Beth Powers, a reproductive health adviser for the U.S.-based Save the Children, which compiled the rankings based on health data from countries and agencies worldwide. The U.S. ranking is driven partly by racial and income health care disparities. Among U.S. blacks, there are 9 deaths per 1,000 live births, closer to rates in developing nations than to those in the industrialized world... In the analysis of global infant mortality, Japan had the lowest newborn death rate, 1.8 per 1,000 and four countries tied for second place with 2 per 1,000 - the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland and Norway. Still, it's the impoverished nations that feel the full brunt of infant mortality, since they account for 99 percent of the 4 million annual deaths of babies in their first month. Only about 16,000 of those are in the United States, according to Save the Children. The highest rates globally were in Africa and South Asia. With a newborn death rate of 65 out of 1,000 live births, Liberia ranked the worst.

The Daily Kos asks the provocative question: Do "Christian Nations" Let Their Newborns Die?:

Somehow I sense this issue will not get the traction the overheated fetus debate gets with the fundamentalist crowd. There's just something not quite as alluring about discussing health care provisions for pregnant moms and their offspring compared with telling your neighbor what to do with her womb... So are we to expect Falwell, Robertson and Dobson to froth up the political waters on behalf of single-payer health insurance and longer paid leaves from the workplace? I'm not holding my breath. The well-being of mothers fares poorly as well, according to the report, with the U.S. tied for last place among industrial nations on indicators such as "mortality risks and contraception use." Perhaps it's time for Mullah Dobson to live up to his organization's name and focus on the family - which as he endlessly wants to remind us, means state intervention in the mother-child reproduction wars. It's hard to see the logic in how a soul that's stainless when it's enwombed does not deserve the best resources of a wealthy nation to make sure the physical body that accompanies it into life is healthy.

Right on.

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