chapter  27
10 Pages

Using Human Rights in Maternal Mortality Programs: From Analysis to Strategy

Behind every death in pregnancy and childbirth is a personal tragedy. That tragedy can be understood and approached in many different ways. It is a biological or medical event. It is a health system malfunction. Sometimes it is a family or community responsibility. When multiplied many, many times over — nearly once every minute — then it is also a social injustice of massive proportions. When framed by its social profile — when we acknowledge that 99% of maternal deaths happen in developing countries; when we recognize that in almost every country, including the United States, some groups (virtually always marginalized or disadvantaged groups) have dramatically higher mortality rates than others — then it is also a collective badge of shame.