No Country For Pregnant Women | January 10, 2018 Act 2 | Full Frontal on TBS

No Country For Pregnant Women | January 10, 2018 Act 2 | Full Frontal on TBS

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] Welcome back to the show. America loves babies. So much so, we even
chose a 70-year-old baby to be our leader. And despite that particular
baby’s claims that Obamacare is slowly killing
us all, the truth is that infant death
rates in America have dropped to historic lows. That is good news, which
I urge you to cherish. It’s one of the few pieces
of good news in this story because there’s a
major shortcoming in America’s
maternal health care, specifically, the maternal part. While American newborns
are safer, the– what do you call
them– the women who bring them
into the world are in the most danger in decades. (ON VIDEO): The United States
has the worst rate of mothers dying during
pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum, than any
country in the developed world. (ON VIDEO): The number
of women in the US who die in childbirth
is nearing the highest rate in a quarter century. A woman giving birth
here is twice as likely to die than in Saudi
Arabia, and three times as likely than in the
United Kingdom. Those statistics
are especially shocking because the US
spends more per capita on maternity care
than any other nation. But most of that is focused
on the child’s health. We’re kind of meh about
those nagging husks that incubate them. And one subgroup
of nagging husks is particularly overlooked. (ON VIDEO): The rate
at which rural women die of pregnancy-related
complications is 64% higher than in large cities. God damn it! Rural areas should only
have higher concentrations of good things,
like Waffle Houses and hot farmhands named Clem. You may be asking, how can so
many of these rural mothers be dying in our modern
21st century hospitals? To which I answer,
what hospitals? (ON VIDEO): It’s a growing
problem across the country– limited access to maternity
care and obstetricians for women in rural areas. NARRATOR (ON VIDEO): In
2004, 45% of rural counties lacked hospital
obstetric services. A decade later, it
jumped up to 54%. (ON VIDEO): Eight labor and
delivery units in rural parts of Georgia have closed
in the past three years. (ON VIDEO): Around a third
of Alabama’s delivering hospitals have been
forced to close their labor and delivery units. NARRATOR (ON VIDEO):
Nine rural hospitals have closed across Tennessee. Jesus! Can’t we just turn all OB units
into Confederate monuments, so people will
actually protect them? Even if a rural county is lucky
enough to have a hospital, maternal care is frequently
the first department to go when budgets
tighten, which is fair, since a mere 100%
of Americans are the result of female pregnancy. The only possible exception
is Ted Cruz, who may have hatched from a lizard egg. We’re looking into it. So what effect do these
closures have on pregnant women? NARRATOR (ON VIDEO): This
small hospital in Louisville, Georgia, is one of
the few facilities within a 60 mile
radius where women can receive prenatal care. Women must travel an hour
to Augusta for anything that requires specialized equipment,
such as diagnostic imaging, and to deliver. (ON VIDEO): Transportation
is our biggest issue. And it’s kind of a 50/50–
some have cars, some– most don’t. A lot of them carpool. And then when they
do get to the hospital, that sad music is playing. Such a bummer. Being forced to travel out
of town for medical care isn’t just an inconvenience. It can be dangerous. NARRATOR (ON VIDEO):
Come January, Bryant will have to travel 45 minutes
to deliver in Morganton, since Blue Ridge will be
closing its maternity ward doors for good on Saturday. (ON VIDEO): It’s
a straight shot once you get down
the mountain, if you can get down the mountain. NARRATOR (ON VIDEO):
The long drive to Grace Hospital, down
State Road 80, takes an hour, descending 1,400 feet
through curves so tight that some call it
the devil’s whip. Oh, my god, the devil’s whip! You don’t want
either of those words near your baby’s delivery! Yes, we are living in a society
that’s outraged by problems with the Domino’s
delivery tracker app, but we’re totally chill about
problems with the delivery of new human lives. Maybe we’d care
more if each baby came with a side of cheesy
bread and a 2 liter of Jolt. Like any crisis, this one has
many fathers, the rise of HMOs, skyrocketing
malpractice insurance costs, demographic shifts,
the recession, Medicare cuts– and yes, even Obamacare,
or more precisely, the right wing freak out
response to Obamacare, keep that black sperm
away from that white egg! Go on! Oh! Many states refused
the Obamacare Medicaid expansion
that could have offset these other problems. Of the 83 rural hospitals
that have closed since 2010, 3/4 were in states that
didn’t expand Medicaid. Oh, by the way,
do you know which group suffers the most from– – Black people?
– No, I– I didn’t even
finish the question. The answer to that question
is always black people! OK, well, let’s see
what the script says. Maternal mortality rates
among African-American women are more than triple the
rate for white women. Told you. And it’s not just
on farms and stuff. It’s everywhere. It’s extremely shitty. Hey, I’m sorry. Yeah, you should be. Because it’s why you’re
not getting grandchildren. Oh, [EXHALES]. But it doesn’t have
to be like this. For example, in California,
maternal mortality is actually decreasing,
thanks to the Maternal Quality Care Collaborative. They studied frequent causes
of death, like hemorrhaging. And get this, they tried
to prevent those things! When they found that hospitals
lacked a uniform response to severe bleeding
during childbirth, they made specially
designed hemorrhage carts, inspired, I believe,
by the least popular game in the Mario Kart series. And they got results. While the country’s
maternal mortality rate has been increasing,
California’s dropped to 1/3 of the national rate. Compare that with Texas, which
closed Planned Parenthood clinics and rejected
Medicaid expansion, despite having the largest
uninsured population in America. Coincidentally,
the state also has the highest maternal mortality
rate in the developed world. I guess the Lone Star State
refers to the Yelp reviews of its maternity wards. Lack of access to
maternal health care creates horror
stories you’d assume are happening in
third world countries, but are actually
happening right here. In rural Tennessee, Whitney
Brown was in labor when she started having seizures. It was a three hour scramble
to get an ambulance, and then a 90 minute ride to a
hospital with obstetric and trauma services. The baby survived,
but Whitney did not. Damn it, American women
deserve better than this! They shouldn’t have to wait in
fear for their delivery date just because they live on
one of our more remote purple mountains’ majesty. There are a lot of problems
that led to this crisis, but there is one solution. And the women in question
know what it is, value their lives more than money. (ON VIDEO): They’re
just transferring the risk of your premiums to our lives. That is exactly
what’s happening, is our lives are
being risked now. Keeping mothers in rural
areas alive and healthy is never going to be profitable. If it were, Silicon Valley
would have disrupted it already. We need to decide that
rural women’s lives are worth saving at any price. And if you disagree
with that, you can be the one to drive
up the devil’s whip and tell them that. We’ll be right back. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]


  1. That's the problem with America. We care more about marginal corporate profits than people's quality of life. This notion that conglomerates making money is more important than saving lives and living well is killing our nation and killing our citizens.

  2. Maternal mortality rate is a particularly aggravating example of the US' flawed healthcare system because death in childbirth is thought of as a medieval relic.

  3. And one would think that childbirth is such a common medical situation the healthcare system would know what to do (think about Padme's death as one of the things that didn't make sense about the Star Wars prequels)

  4. Thanks for caring enough to mention it. The hospital I gave birth at was 58mins away. I assumed that was normal. Only medical problems that “directly affect the baby” were covered by my “pregnancy only Medicaid”. (Mississippi-we had ACA at one point which I met the income limit for and had for about a month but then it got blocked/ended right before I found out I was 2 months pregnant. )

  5. You need midwives! We've got loads in the UK, and our maternal health is three times better than yours 😀

  6. it`s wonderful program, very inersting, although i dont understand very well the english, dut i understand something about mortality pregnan in U.S

  7. You know if men were the ones who got pregnant, this would definitely not be an issue. This country has always hated women.

  8. Samantha, you don't have to be 'rural' to not have hospital maternity care. My daughter lives in Warsaw Indiana and the neraest hospital is in Fort Wayne Indiana. When labort started in the middle of the night she had to drive 50 miles down an icy highway in order to make it to the hospital in time for the delivery. thie lack of maternal medical care is a NATIONAL problem not just a Rrual problem
    and BTW
    you may want to ALSO cover the lack of good child care and the rate of mortality in child care facilities. YEP
    In Indiana there is an EPIDEMIC of Children DYING in Childcare facilities – including 'home based ones'

  9. So that's why my mom want's me to have children, so she can collect the life insurance she pays on me AND have a baby to "raise". I see her plan now.

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