Promoted by Steven D.

Edvard Munch – The Sick Child

To think that we go stomping around the world, full of our sense of superiority and our exceptional place amongst the community of nations. That place, you ask?

U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says

American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found.

Only Latvia, with six deaths per 1,000 live births, has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States, which is tied near the bottom of industrialized nations with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with five deaths per 1,000 births.

I don’t know about you, but my heart swells with pride at that little statistic. The story continues:

“The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but its newborn rate is higher than any of those countries,” said the annual State of the World’s Mothers report.

The report, which analyzed data from governments, research institutions and international agencies, found higher newborn death rates among U.S. minorities and disadvantaged groups. For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole, with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births.[…]

The newborn mortality rate in the United States has fallen in recent decades, the report said, but continues to affect minorities disproportionately.

Only 17 percent of all U.S. births were to African-American families, but 33 percent of all low-birthweight babies were African-American, according to the report.

Of course, it probably doesn’t help that we spend most of our money on our gigantic military, and that we rely upon employer-sponsered insurance to cover the needs of most Americans. Add to that the destruction of our social safety net under our last four Republican Presidents (that would be Reagan, Bush the Elder, Clinton and Bush the Lesser, of course), and we shouldn’t be suprised by our shameful showing. One reason for the high numbers is that our children get a lousy start, especially in minority communities, communities where the only health care available is an overburdened emergency room, hospitals that are under increasing financial pressure and shutting down.

How about we get our own house in order before we dive screaming into other nations, bringing democracy to people who didn’t invite us at the point of a precision guided bomb? How about we spend more political capital on providing good health care to expectant mothers and newborn babies instead of of “abstinence” programs? How dare we claim to be civilized when poor children amongst us have little access to the basics necessary for a good start in life, let alone liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

How can we claim to be civilized when we increasingly fail to provide the most basic services that citizens in other “modern” societies take for granted?

Originally posted at Liberal Street Fighter

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