15 August 2007

Infant mortality: America's shame

While the abortion issue remains hot in the U.S. (and lukewarm in this country), the fate of babies once they are born seems to be of much less interest. This is surprising. Surprising, because the chances of survival for newborns in the U.S. are among the worst in the developed world. An American newborn is more than twice as likely to die in its first year as a child born in Sweden.

The U.S. infant mortality rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 live births compares to Sweden's 2.8 (the world's lowest). Other Scandinavian countries closely follow Sweden's example with Finland at 3.5 and Norway at 3.6.
France and Germany follow at 4.2 and 4.1 and we Canadians tag along at 4.6. Our rate is nothing to brag about, but America's, considering that country's great wealth, is downright shameful.

As always in the U.S., race plays a role. For African-Americans, the mortality rate is nearly double that of the United States as a whole. We might expect the lack of medical insurance for millions of Americans to also play a part.

If American pro-lifers demonstrated as much concern about babies surviving as they do about fetuses, they might be more convincing that it is life they care about, not dogma.

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