Amnesty International Hosts Town Hall Forum in New York City April 19 on Crisis of Maternal Health Worldwide

April 7, 2010

International and Local Speakers to Focus on Campaign to Reduce Preventable Deaths of Women and Mothers; NY State Ranks 47th in Terms of Maternal Deaths Among All States

NEW YORK, April 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Amnesty International, in partnership with The Riverside Church and the NAACP NY State Conference, will host a special public town hall forum with Amnesty International leaders from around the world in New York City (April 19) to spotlight a new campaign to reduce preventable maternal deaths globally and in the United States. The discussion urges the public to learn the truth about the world’s “missing mothers,” will include local maternal health experts as well as Amnesty International national leaders from the United States, Burkina Faso, Peru, and Sierra Leone — countries where the human rights organization has launched campaigns to prevent unacceptably high rates of maternal deaths.

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A state-by-state examination shows that New York is 47th on a maternal mortality ranking, with 16 deaths per 100,000 live births

Following the recent release of Amnesty International’s report, Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the U.S.A., Amnesty International is asking the U.S. government to establish a national Office of Maternal Health to improve pregnancy and childbirth outcomes. The United States spends more than any other country on health care and more on maternal health than any other type of hospital care. Despite this, the United States ranks behind 40 other countries in the rate of maternal deaths, with 2 to 3 women dying every day and 34,000 pregnant women every year suffering “near misses” — where severe complications nearly cause death. Maternal death rates in the United States have doubled over the last 20 years.

Interviews with the experts will be available for print or broadcast.

Worldwide, more than half a million women die needlessly every year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth — one every minute. Most of these deaths could have been prevented by access to high-quality, affordable and timely medical care.

In addition to the tragic loss of human life and devastating consequences for families and communities, these needless deaths reflect the cycle of human rights abuses that define and perpetuate poverty. More than a million children are left motherless every year, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

“Every woman has the fundamental right to a safe pregnancy, regardless of race or income,” said Larry Cox, executive director, Amnesty International USA. Joined by local maternal health experts, the forum will feature the executive directors of the four Amnesty International country sections, in addition to Cox, they include Yves Boukari Traore (Burkina Faso); Silvia Rosario Loli Espinoza (Peru) and Brima Abdulai Sheriff (Sierra Leone).

Open to the public, the forum will take place as follows:

Monday, April 19, New York City

6:30 p.m. (doors open 5:30 p.m.), Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive

Contact: Thenjiwe McHarris (tmcharris@aiusa.org).

To learn more about maternal health as a human right, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org/deadlydelivery

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

SOURCE Amnesty International

Source: newswire

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