A recent study found that maternal death rates in Texas were the highest in the United states, and among the worst in the developed world, with the number of such deaths doubling from 2010 to 2012.
But Texas lawmakers—who devoted time to a slew of anti-LGBTQ bills—were apparently unmoved by that startling trend, choosing to close out their legislative session with some drama but no “significant action to address” the problem, as the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Now, the issue of women who die from complications related to childbirth may not be addressed until 2019.
One failed effort, legislation introduced by Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, would have extended a state maternal mortality task force’s timeline, pushing its end date from 2019 to 2023. That task force, established in 2013, issued a report last year showing that African-American women were disproportionately affected by pregnancy-related deaths; though they make up 11 percent of all births in Texas, they constituted 29 percent of maternal deaths.
State Rep. Shawn Thierry had legislation to look into that trend, but AP reports that effort “died along with a parade of other proposals after tea party-backed lawmakers, protesting a lack of movement of their own pet issues, used a House procedural maneuver to kill every bill on a legislative calendar that wasn’t supposed to generate debate.”
Another effort that would have extended Medicaid coverage for a longer period after women give birth also failed, AP noted.
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