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HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Half Of Rural U.S. Counties Lack Hospitals Where Women Can Give Birth

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More than half of U.S. rural counties have no hospital where women can give birth, according to MinnPost.com.

According to a new study by the University of Minnesota, over the past decade, the number of U.S. rural counties without obstetric units increased by 50 percent.

This means that rural women are at greater risk of birth-related complications than previously realized.

In addition, the study showed that the largest drop in obstetric services occurred in regions with larger percentages of women who are black, poor and ineligible for Medicaid. The Medicaid eligibility problem is often tied to states that have refused to expand Medicaid, such as Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

In fact, as has been widely reported, Texas now has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. The lack of hospitals with obstetric units in rural areas is likely a big contributing factor in Texas’s staggering maternal death rate.