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There's a lot of rhetoric on supporting women on both sides of the aisle. There's endless talk about family values. And we're up to our collective necks in jingoistic American exceptionalism.
Just in time for Mother's Day, an annual ranking of the best and worst countries in which to be a mom puts the USA in 25th place, up from 31st last year.The 13th annual State of the World's Mothers report by the Save the Children foundation, out today, examines the well-being of mothers and their children in 165 countries, based on a range of measures, including mothers' education, infant mortality and breastfeeding rates.[..]
The improvement in the USA's rank is due largely to increases in its already high educational status, which benefits the economic potential of women and mothers, says Carolyn Miles, president of the charity.
The USA still performs below average overall and quite poorly on a number of measures, Miles says, including:
- Lifetime risk of dying from childbirth. Mothers in the USA face a one-in-2,100 risk of maternal death, the highest of any industrialized nation.•Mortality rate of children. The death rate for children younger than 5 is eight per 1,000 births, on par with Bosnia and Herzegovina. A child in the USA is four times as likely as a child in Iceland to die before age 5. Forty countries performed better than the U.S.
- Maternity leave policies. Policies in the USA are among the least generous of any wealthy nation. It is the only developed country, and one of only a handful of countries in the world, that does not guarantee working mothers paid leave.
"The U.S. has moved up, but it's still not great, falling near the bottom among most wealthy nations," Miles says.
But here's the deal, we're not among the most wealthy countries. We ARE the WEALTHIEST country. And in the wealthiest country in the world, a child is more likely to die before the age of 5 than in Iceland, a country with only 8 percent of our GDP. There's nothing positive about moving up to number 25 when you consider that. Or when you consider that the country with allegedly the best medical facilities and best trained doctots can boast the lowest rank of all the Western industrial nations in maternal deaths (41st in the world). Why? Because access to health care is becoming increasingly out of the economic reach of so many people. That is a disgrace.
Chris Hayes remarks of the great feeling of fear as you leave the hospital with this tiny little being that you are wholly responsible for. It is a mark of the kind of society we belong to as to how we value the next generation we bring forth: will we offer them nurturing and support, keep them safe and healthy? Or will we simply congratulate them for procreating and send them on their way?
Is there any better infrastructure investment we can make than to give each child the best possible advantage of living in the wealthiest country in the world?