Popular Science

The horrifying maternal mortality rate in Texas turned out to be wrong, but that's not the biggest issue

The lone star state isn’t alone

Two years ago, you may have heard that Texas’ maternal mortality rate had just doubled. No one was quite sure why—some blamed a recent shuttering of family-planning services, others a lack of concern for women’s health generally—but it seemed most were confident Texas was a cautionary tale. The U.S. maternal mortality rate overall had been rising for years, even as nearly every other developed country saw declines. Surely, the new numbers out of Texas portended what could happen across the country if we didn’t change soon.

It turns out that the numbers in Texas were wrong. The extent to which they were incorrect was just published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, as investigated by several researchers who went back and double-checked the cause-of-death for 147 total deaths in Texas in 2012.

Though we only now realize how flawed the data were, this isn’t entirely a recent revelation. Experts suspected that something was wrong

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