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February 16

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Childbirth Mortality Rates


QUOTE by Margaret Sanger.

Maternal Deaths from Pregnancy and Childbirth

      A recent World Health Organization study shows that mortality rates from pregnancy and childbirth are much higher than previously reported.
      In this new study it is shown that 12 women per 100,000 births die in the United States as compared to the previously released figure of 8 per 100,000 - a reporting correction of more than 30%.
      However, the U.S. rate is nothing compared to the rate of death of African women which is 870 per 100,000 births and estimated to be even higher in Asian countries.
      This study indicates that at least 585,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes worldwide. Carla Abou-Zahr of the WHO Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Program said the 15% increase is due to better reporting.
      And yet less than half the countries of the world report maternal deaths so the actual number of pregnancy-related deaths is at least three times as high: probably more than 1.5 MILLION women dying every year.
      Also, there are no guidelines for reporting a death from pregnancy- related causes. The cause of death could easily be attributed to something else.
      In Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and other African nations, women face a one-in-seven chance of dying from pregnancy-related complications the report said. The highest rate of maternal death occurs in Asian which has 61% of the births in the world.
      Repeated pregnancies, lack of birth control, and poor medical care for women are the cited as the causes of the high death rate.

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B. 02-16-1879, Mabel Dodge Luhan single-handed made Taos, New Mexico, a cultural mecca.

B. 02-16-1893, Katherine Cornell regarded as one of the finest American stage actors of all time and dubbed "the first lady of the American theatre," by several homophobic critics such as George Jean Nathan who tried to fan trouble between Cornell, Lynne Fontaine (who both married to cover their lesbianism), and Eva LaGalliene who did not. Cornell's indispensable assistant was Gertrude Macy Katharines, and she left her considerable fortune to her longtime housemate Nancy Hamilton. Her most noted roles were as Elizabeth Barret Browing in the Barretts of Wimpole Street (1930) and as Joan in Saint Joan (1936). Starred in many Shavian plays.

B. 02-16-1900, Mary E. Switzer, director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (1950), first woman to win the prestigious Albert Lasker award.

B. 02-16-1906, Vera Francevna Menchik-Stevenson, Russo-Anglo chess master who held the women's world champion title (1927-1944).

B. 02-16-1920, Patti Andrew, lead singer of the immensely popular Andrew Sisters which sold more than 60 million records in the 1930's and 1940's and are still being imitated today. Made a number of Hollywood films. The trio is still being imitated. LaVerne was the contralto (07-06-1915) and Maxene (01-03-1918) high harmony.

Event 02-16-1944, Sue S. Dauser is appointed first woman captain in the U.S. Navy.

Event 02-16-1945, Elizabeth W. Peratrovich, a native Tlingit, won her long fight for civil rights for the First People in Alaska (1945.) The day was set aside in her honor in 1989.

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      "No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother."
            -- Margaret Sanger, 1920

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