For Immediate Release

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Amnesty International Urges Governments Worldwide to Step Up Efforts to Prevent Women's Deaths in Childbirth, Saying Recent Progress is Too Slow and Too Many Women Are Still Dying

New Report Shows Decline in Deaths, but One Woman Still Dies Every 90 Seconds; Most Deaths are Preventable

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International today
urged countries to urgently step up efforts to reduce the number of women
dying in childbirth, saying while new United Nations figures show some
progress toward reducing maternal deaths worldwide, the numbers remain
too high to meet a key global target to save more lives.

The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth
decreased from an estimated 546 000 in 1990 to 358 000 in 2008, according
to a report issued by several United Nations agencies on Wednesday.

But the figures show that the annual rate of decline in maternal mortality
is less than half of that needed to achieve the Millennium Development
Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent between
1990 and 2015.

“Although a woman is no longer dying every minute, according to the new
statistics one woman is still dying every minute and a half”, said Widney
Brown, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for International Law and

“Amnesty International welcomes the progress that has been made but the
fact remains that hundreds and thousands of women die every year in pregnancy
and childbirth, though these deaths are preventable.”

“No women should die while giving birth, when such deaths are preventable.
Governments need to do much more to ensure that the most disadvantaged
and poorest women have equal and timely access to life saving care.”

The new figures were published as heads of states prepare to meet and review
progress on the MDGs at a United Nations summit in New York next week (Monday
through Wednesday).

“Governments need to intensify their efforts
to ensure that all women enjoy their rights to maternal, sexual and reproductive
health and choice. said Brown.

Maternal Deaths in the United States

Amnesty International released a report this
year in the United States, "Deadly Delivery," that showed the
rates of maternal deaths in the United States have not improved in 20 years.
 American women have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related
complications than women in 40 other countries.  Two to three women
die every day in the United States from pregnancy-related complications
-- half of these deaths are preventable, according to the
Centers for Disease Control -- and more than 34,000 women nearly
die each year, many due to disparities in maternal health care that the
government is ignoring,  African American women are nearly four times
more likely to die than white women.
To read the full report, please visit:


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