For the past couple of weeks, the 26-year-old has been living in a suburb of Austin, Texas, with her husband Dakota Meyer, their one-year-old daughter Sailor Grace, and her eight-year-old son Tripp, her only child with her ex-fiance Levi Johnston.
Austin used to be one of my favorite cities. Imagine my shock when I learned Bristol Palin was living in my state!
Bristol has become a celebrity by getting pregnant…repeatedly…and by different men….after proclaiming her commitment to chastity…and after profiting off of promoting a message of the importance of preventing teen pregnancy.
Bristol Palin had the opportunity to raise awareness in Alaska of the plight of women in the rape capital of America. She did nothing.
Now she lives in Texas, the state with the highest maternal mortality in the country.
Across the USA, the rate of maternal deaths jumped from 18.8 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014 – a 27% jump. Texas has about 150 deaths per year due to maternal health issues. But the rate of increase and the fact that the numbers are rising in the USA while dropping in other industrialized countries is inexcusable.
“We are so far behind these other countries, there’s clearly a problem here,” he said. “There’s real reason to be concerned.”
Causes of maternal deaths in Texas range from cardiac events to hypertension, drug overdose and suicide, according to a report released earlier this year by the Texas task force. The report, which looked at deaths in 2011 and 2012 associated with pregnancy and within a year after giving birth, also found that African-American women were disproportionately more likely to die in pregnancy-related deaths than white or Hispanic women.
Black women accounted for just 11% of all births in Texas, but they made up 29% of maternal deaths, according to the Texas report. Hispanic women accounted for nearly half – 48% – of all births, but made up 31% of maternal deaths. Fortunately for Bristol she is neither Black or Hispanic.
Some experts point to the state’s cut of family planning services and refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as possible reasons. In 2011, Texas lawmakers slashed the family planning budget by more than $70 million and, two years later, greatly reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state by mandating they meet ambulatory surgical center standards and employ doctors with admitting privileges at hospitals. The Supreme Court overturned those abortion restrictions. However the damage was done. Women were dying at unprecedented rates.
In fact, this month, it was reported that mothers in Texas are dying of pregnancy-related causes at a higher rate than anywhere else in the developed world.
Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the United States, and the state has rejected a federally funded expansion of Medicaid that would cover 1.1 million additional Texans.
As a task force created by the Legislature in 2013 discovered, it’s impossible to talk about the maternal mortality problem without addressing the health insurance problem. In a 2016 legislative report that found 189 maternal deaths in Texas from 2011-2012, the task force recommended extending health care access for women in the first year after birth. As the report notes, more than half of all births in Texas are paid for by Medicaid, but coverage for mothers ends 60 days after the child is born.
Sarah Palin continues to be a vocal opponent of any kind of national health care. It is predictable that Bristol will do nothing while in Texas to champion the cause of women without health care, since she now gets hers through the government.