On Sunday, October 18, a New York Times editorial called “shameful” how poorly the United States compares with other industrialized countries in its infant mortality rate. The Times reports that in l960 we were 12th and now we’re 29th. The editorial says it’s difficult to pinpoint the causes because infant mortality is linked with health and economic status of the mother, her race or ethnicity, access to quality medical care as well as obesity and drug use.
While we’re overhauling the health care system maybe we could take a look at where we can integrate age-appropriate sexuality education from kindergarten through college.
If we can help women learn to prepare their bodies for pregnancy, educate them about contraceptive methods that will allow them to plan their pregnancies and space them with enough time to recover, we can reduce the mortality rate.
The Guttmacher Institute numbers show that the mortality rate goes up when women have babies too close together for their bodies to heal and strengthen. At the family level, the school level, the community level, in faith-based organizations and among elected decision makers, we must make women’s reproductive healthcare a higher priority than polarizing ideologies.