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Despite spending the more money on health care per capita than any other country in the world, the U.S. seems to be doing a poor job of keeping its citizens alive. Amnesty International released a startling report that found the U.S. ranked 50th for maternal mortality rates — and what’s worse, African-American women are three to four times more likely than white women to die of pregnancy-related causes.

The high costs of insurance coverage and lack of access to medical care play a major role in the high death rate. In 2011 alone, there were $317.5 million in cuts to family planning and a $1 billion cut to community health centers, which are a vital resource for low-income communities and minorities. A shortage of health care professionals, especially women specialists, can also be added to the list. Because of a lack of doctors and resources, it can be difficult for women to get the timely and adequate health care they need, especially in rural areas and inner cities.

How do women in Third World countries have a better chance of surviving pregnancy than a black woman in America? It’s appalling that at a time when people are lobbying against organizations like Planned Parenthood, we have women dying of deaths that could be prevented with the help of services offered by free clinics. Maternal mortalities just seem like such an archaic problem. Why this issue hasn’t been at the forefront of unviersal health care is beyond us.