Nicholas Kristoff is a New York Times journalist who, from time to time writes about
women’s issues. Other than this article, he has written about the difficult situations women in
Africa face and has even been an advocate on their behalf. Predominantly, he writes about
child-bearing injuries and the societal stereotype of young mothers where they face rejection.
In this piece, Kristoff disagrees with the belief that America is the epitome of maternal
healthcare. He states that despite America’s economic progress, maternal healthcare is
declining by the day. Despite Obamacare’s plan to improve healthcare in America, Kristof
explains that it is a patchwork at best. The journalist even compares the American healthcare
to other developed countries. He explains that compared to a British woman, an American
woman is five times likely to succumb to complications post or during pregnancy. In Britain,
medical practitioners attempt saving mother’s lives whereas the American practitioners
prioritize saving the baby’s life.
He gives an example of Houston, Texas. Compared to Spain and Sweden, an American
woman in Texas is ten times likely to succumb to complications during pregnancy. However, a
few scholars believe that mortality increase rate has been embellished. He further explains that
the republican healthcare plan would increase the mortality rate in Texas and across America.
Maternity mortality is not the only reason for female deaths but the lack of women health
clinics and unavailability of Medicaid are underlying factors (Nicholas Kristoff) . During an
interview with a president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in
Houston, Dr. Lisa Hollier whose main aim is to improve maternal care due to an encounter as a
resident. Dr. Hollier simply said that “You can’t die from a pregnancy when you’re not
Statistically, unplanned pregnancies in America amount to almost fifty percent where a
third of that population is teenagers. Regardless, the trump government cut over 213 million
dollars meant to fund teenage pregnancy prevention programs (Nicholas Kristoff) . As much as
Obamacare’s aim was to improve medical care, contraceptives are only affordable through
insurance coverage. Without the latter, it is next to impossible to afford contraceptives for
women across America.
Unlike other countries worldwide who have managed to plunge it by half, America has
failed to curb maternal mortality (Nicholas Kristoff) . Another issue is that Texas politicians are
against planned parenthood due to the pro-life initiative which has in turn led to closure of
multiple clinics. California however, has managed to reduce maternal mortality which gives hope
that it could be done.
I believe that the United States can curb maternal deaths quite easily due to developed
economy. I disagree that unplanned pregnancies are to be blamed solely on lack of sex
education. Some individuals may have a scope on preventing unplanned pregnancies but end up
having them. If maternal deaths are to be reduced especially in Texas, there ought to be
initiatives that encourage public education. It is important to provide education to teenagers and
the youth to ensure that they have a clear scope on contraception and sexual health. As stable as
the United States is on other economic fronts, its government should lay out a strategy to help
lower the maternal death rate by improving heath care across the country. They should improve
their insurance policies to ensure that all plans cover maternal health. Like Kristof, I agree that
the fact that women still die during child birth today is utterly shameful.
Nicholas Kristoff. Opinion | If Americans Love Moms, Why Do We Let Them Die? – The New
York Times. 29 July 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/opinion/sunday/texas-