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Transcript: Dr. Henning Timeryer on "Face the Nation"

Harvard University expert on maternal mortality in the United States

Racial disparity in maternal mortality ratio Experts say "one of the biggest challenges in public health"

The following is an interview with Dr. Henning Teameyer of Harvard University, which aired on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, July 3, 2022. It is a record. 

Margaret Brennan: According to the Gates Foundation, maternal mortality is higher than in any other developed country, and the removal of federal protection against abortion highlights it. Just do it. Reality and future risks. Dr. Henning Temeyer is Director of the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard University and he is currently joining us. Good morning, doctor.

DR. HENNING TIEMEIER: Hello, Margaret, good morning.

Margaret Brennan: Morning-This is very important because I want to set aside the abortion issue itself and talk about pregnancy in the United States. I think these states are rewriting these laws. So how is it possible for the wealthiest countries in the world to have the highest maternal mortality rates and how can we prevent them from getting worse?

DR. TIEMEIER: Well, I have to say two things to it. First of all, there seems to be a problem with the data. It's expensive because I think it's higher than other developed countries. However, some of the recent rises are due in part to inadequate data collection. So it has been fixed, but it's more expensive. So why is it so expensive? It's a background risk because we think it's related to the general health of American women. And it is partly due to poor health care during pregnancy and, more importantly, poverty due to poor postnatal care after childbirth.

Margaret Brennan: It-Black mothers have three times the mortality rate of white women. why.

DR. TIEMEIER: Yes, it's much higher and quite expensive. And that-you have to understand that about 700 women die during or after childbirth, or in the first month after giving birth to 700 people a year, and we have these deaths. I know that most of them are preventable. And they certainly occur more often in minorities, and especially in black women. And why is it essentially one of the biggest public health challenges. And we see it as the pinnacle of the iceberg of poor health for women and poor health for black women. And there are several reasons that seem to range from poverty to discrimination to poor care for women in this group.

Margaret Brennan: According to the CDC, nearly 40% of abortions in the country occurred among black women. Therefore, in explaining what you did, I am based on the assumption that you also expect the mortality rate of these mothers to increase.

DR. TIEMEIER: I don't think the number predictions are appropriate at this time. This is because, in fact, many of the issues mentioned earlier regarding legal issues depend on access to abortion in other states. But we know that abortions occur and people in poverty and minorities occur much more often. We know that they have difficulty accessing abortion outside the state, so I think it will affect their physical and mental health. How many dead. No one knows. It's very difficult. It-it-it-I don't want to quantify it. No numbers are included. It depends on many other things, uh. 

Margaret Brennan: So when we looked at the country's Medicaid coverage, it covered about 40% of all births in the country, and the federal government gave the state more money. I'm trying to get you paid. Extend maternal health care. So not only is it interrupted in two months, but it is even longer. Therefore, women can have a pelvic examination and get something else after giving birth. States like Mississippi don't do that. What are the consequences of not being able to get medical care after two months?

DR. TIEMEIER: So what you're pointing out now is one of the big problems and one that can be dealt with quickly. Remember that Mississippi is one, Texas is another, and there are many non-expanding states like Medicaid. They have not accepted the offer to reform the health insurance system to expand health care for women in the first year. In fact, I think we should go even further than in the first year after giving birth. That is, there are few rights and little coverage. Therefore, only the very very poor people in these states are covered. However, many poor women have relatively poor, low-income women. Women who struggle to earn time and money for the insured are not eligible for mental health or health checks, but do not get the necessary pelvic tests. you are correct.

Margaret Brennan: So America looks very different from 1973. According to Brookings, about 40% of US households have women as their main earners. So, from a medical point of view, I would like to ask how important it is for women to have time to recover after childbirth. Of course, as you know, there is no federal guarantee of paid parental leave in this country. Therefore, if these women need to work to support their family, the work in question, they will be paid essentially, or at least for it.

DR. TIEMEIER: I think this is a very important issue. It is not recognized in a sense. I know the Vice President has dealt with this, but it is very important to understand that many steps are needed to improve maternal health. One is to improve prenatal care and the other is actually to improve postnatal care, but it is also to help and save time for families, especially poor and disadvantaged families. .. So give them a vacation. Paid leave is very important because having children is a stress on the system. Imagine having three children and a fourth child. That way, you'll have to have a minimum of children, you won't be able to achieve your goals, but you won't have time to breastfeed. For this reason, we can see that breastfeeding did not improve as expected. So I-

Margaret Brennan: -Doctor-

DR. TIEMEIER:-Yes, and many of my colleagues claim that they need time. 

Margaret Brennan: And we will continue to cover your research. Thank you very much. This program will also address these issues. I have to leave it there. I'll be back soon.

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