ActuElles – The dangers of motherhood in the United States: Louisiana in the cyclone of maternal deaths

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The United States holds the record for the rich country with the highest maternal mortality rate, with 33 deaths per 100,000 births in 2021. For black women in the poorest states, this proportion can even quadruple. In Taiwan, a few weeks before the presidential election, the #MeToo wave is taking over the campaign. Finally, Nina Métayer is the first woman named best pastry chef in the world. She talks about how she established herself in this obviously macho environment.

In the United States, maternal mortality has been gaining ground for several years. In 2018, the country recorded 658 deaths of women during pregnancy or the 42 days following childbirth. By 2020, this figure had increased to 861 and reached 1,178 deaths in 2021.

At the federal level, this represents an average of 23.8 women dying in the United States per 100,000 births, while the Netherlands, the best performer on the planet, has 1.2 deaths and France, 7.6. The United States not only holds the record for the highest MMR (maternal mortality rate) among developed countries, but it also records shocking disparities between different communities.

Hispanic women fare the best, with “only” 18.2 deaths; Caucasians are right behind them with 19.1 deaths, while African-Americans are the big losers, with an average of 55.3 dead women per 100,000 live births.

In May 2023, black American sprinter Tori Bowie died of pre-eclampsia at eight months pregnant, and a few years earlier, tennis champion Serena Williams almost lost her life at the birth of his daughter, Alexis Olympia. These stories concern celebrities, but the proportion of maternal deaths is still increasing in poorer states, like Louisiana.

These dismaying figures can be explained in particular by the American health system, largely in the hands of the private sector and often inaccessible to the poorest, and by private insurance with restrictive application conditions. The Medicaid system, which provides minimal medical coverage to the most vulnerable, is not always sufficient. In 2021, nearly 8 million women of childbearing age had no health coverage in the United States.

Added to this situation is the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022, which further added to the confusion by making each state free to define its own policy relating to abortion. In doing so, gray areas have appeared depending on the State, sometimes accompanied by severe prison sentences for doctors who exceed the local limits of the right to abortion. Many women find themselves left behind, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 84% of maternal deaths are preventable.

See alsoRight to abortion in the USA: “access to abortion has been greatly reduced”

On January 13, 2024, the people of Taiwan will go to the polls to choose the person who will succeed President Tsai Ing-wen. Since May 2023 and the revelation of several rape and sexual assault scandals, the MeToo movement has been involved in the campaign. From now on, presidential candidates must take this dimension into account.

See also#MeToo wave in Taiwan: women speak out against sexual violence

Finally, the best pastry chef in the world is French and, for the first time since the creation of this title, she is a woman. To find a place in front of the kitchen and enter the Pantheon of haute cuisine, Nina Métayer had to take out the whip and establish herself in a world still largely dominated by men.

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