Gov. Greg Abbott said on Twitter over the weekend that people criticizing the state’s maternal mortality rate were “lying,” and that the state has done “more than ever” to reduce the rate of maternal deaths. But the medical community says even if that’s true, the state could be doing much more.
Emily Briggs is a family physician in New Braunfels. Briggs sees a lot of pregnant women before, after and during their pregnancies. She says people concerned about maternal deaths and women who almost die while giving birth in Texas have good reasons to be concerned.
“We are top-ranked when it comes to providing insufficient care for our mothers. We do not rank well compared to many of the other states, and it is a crisis,” Briggs says.
During this last legislative session, lawmakers had the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to women for up to a year after they give birth. But they didn’t. Briggs says there have been various studies looking into the state’s maternal death rate, but she says even if they don’t all have the same exact numbers, it’s clear Texas could be improving access to medical care for women before and after they are pregnant.