Mewling and puking aside, babies are usually good news, but a new report from Save the Children makes for grim reading. Tom Tomorrow, the great cartoonist (whose work can be found weekly in the Weekly), gets to the straight to heart of the matter on his blog, This Modern World: "... this is fucking obscene":
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An estimated 2 million babies die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide and the United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world, according to a new report.
American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found.
Only Latvia, with six deaths per 1,000 live births, has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States, which is tied near the bottom of industrialized nations with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with five deaths per 1,000 births.
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The report, which analyzed data from governments, research institutions and international agencies, found higher newborn death rates among U.S. minorities and disadvantaged groups. For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole, with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 births.
Because of some unholy confluence of conservatism, free-marketism, and general head-up-ass-ism, this country has never made health care for all a national priority. Things like this are the result, and it infuriates me. Next time some right wing asshole starts talking about the scary, scary dangers of socialized medicine, just remember: among industrialized nations, only Latvia has a higher death rate for newborns than the United Fucking States of America.
For a nation as advanced and wealthy as we are alleged to be, that's unspeakably obscene.
His fellow blogger, Jonathan Schwartz, provides some additional perspective.