Discover more from Wonkette
Idaho To Ignore Maternal Mortality Rates Until They Go Away
The state will no longer collect data on maternal mortality.
Ever since the fall of Roe , reproductive rights advocates have warned that states that ban abortions are going to end up with even worse maternal mortality rates than they already have — which is saying a lot, given that the United States already has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation, and even a higher rate than many developing nations.
But one such state is taking a brave stand and saying "Not us!" — and that state is Idaho. Sort of.
However, rather than figuring out some solution to maternal care providers fleeing the state in droves, Idaho has come up with a more unique plan — putting on its horse blinders and pretending everything is fine.
Last week, Idaho decided to just completely eliminate its Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which will make it the only state in the nation with no process to review maternal deaths, and that's kind of an important thing to do if you want to prevent maternal deaths.
The committee was first established in 2018 with a "sunset clause" set for July 1, 2023 — meaning that it would dissolve unless the state legislature voted to keep it ... which they did not do, thanks to Republican opposition.
"I think it's only fair that it prove its worth. In this case, we absolutely think it has proven its worth in showing that we do have a problem with increasing maternal deaths in the state of Idaho," Idaho Medical Association CEO Susie Keller told KTVB . "The committee has also provided some solid recommendations for us to implement and make sure we don't have women needlessly dying."
The committee determined that all but one of the maternal deaths from 2018 to 2021 were, in fact, preventable and had issued recommendations for preventing similar deaths in the future. That seems like good information to have.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation, which appears to be a ragtag group of potato-munching sociopaths, celebrated the decision, claiming that the group was a waste of taxpayer money that encouraged government intervention in health care. Like the kind that says, "Hey, stop doing this thing that's killing people having babies!" or "Hey, half of our maternal deaths happen after the birth, many of them to mothers who were on Medicaid while pregnant and no longer have access to health care, so what if we extend their Medicare to prevent them from dying? Also what if they had someplace to live?"
The program is the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee. The Legislature and Gov. Brad Little created the committee in 2019 with the support of the very lefty Idaho Medical Association (IMA). At the time, the IMA said the committee would help identify the causes of preventable deaths in pregnant and postpartum women. But we warned that the program would do little except be used as a vehicle to promote more government intervention in health care, and we were right.
Each year after its formation, the committee released reports arguing for more government — in particular, the expansion of Medicaid to include women up to 12 months after the delivery of their babies and prioritizing subsidized housing for women. The committee also argued for just about every other government intervention, including tougher seatbelt laws (because, apparently, an unbelted woman was killed in a car accident sometime after her pregnancy).
Seatbelts! Who created this review committee? Ralph Nader?
Except the thing is, the committee did not actually recommend "tougher seatbelt laws," they merely suggested that "Public Health should promote and provide education on proper seatbelt use, including during pregnancy" and that pregnant people should be told how important it is for them to wear a seatbelt. So it's bad if a fetus dies in an abortion, but a-okay if it dies in an unnecessarily fatal car accident.
I understand and respect that many people consider it their right as an American to die from a preventable accident without the government getting in their business about it. They don't want the government telling their barber surgeons which kinds of leeches they're allowed to use. And frankly, I say we let them have that choice. But surely there are many pregnant people within the state of Idaho who would really like to survive their pregnancies and might appreciate the advice that this committee imparts. And isn't that part of "freedom," too?
Wonkette is independent and fully funded by readers like you. Click below to tip us!