Study: Michigan Performs Poorly on Women’s, Children’s Well-Being

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Study: Michigan Performs Poorly on Women’s, Children’s Well-Being

Study: Michigan Performs Poorly on Women’s, Children’s Well-Being
State has high infant, child, maternal mortality rates, high poverty rate; has fourth-lowest score nationally on children’s health, third-lowest on women’s health

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan performs below average on indicators of women’s and children’s health and socioeconomic well-being, especially when it comes to mortality rates and the percentage of children living in poverty, according to a new study released today at an event hosted by MI Lead.

MI Lead is a nonpartisan coalition of more than 30 groups dedicated to empowering Michigan women and improving women’s access to health care, education and economic security. Co-director Lara Chelian said the report showed Michigan still has a long way to go to improve women and children’s health and well-being.

“Michigan and its citizens can’t prosper unless the state ensure that laws and policies restricting women’s economic parity and health care access are changed,” Chelian said.

A collaboration between Ibis Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights, the report was shared today with Michigan lawmakers and other policymakers to help dismantle the claim that more restrictive abortion laws protect and support the health and lives of women, their pregnancies and their children. Instead, the evidence shows a consistently negative relationship between a state’s number of abortion restrictions and its performance on indicators of women’s and children’s health.

According to the study, Michigan ranks nationally as the 18th most restrictive state in terms of abortion, tied with Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin. It requires mandatory waiting periods between the initial visit for an abortion and the abortion taking place and that an ultrasound be offered before the abortion. Women now must request a separate rider for abortion coverage in their health insurance and there are restrictions on the provision of medication rather than surgical abortions. Since the study was completed, some Michigan lawmakers have begun calling for a law that would say life begins at conception, essentially outlaw abortions in the state.

On indicators of women’s health, Michigan ranked 40th and had the third-lowest score, tied with Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas. The state’s maternal mortality rate is nearly double the national average, at 21 deaths per 100,000 live births, and female residents tend to smoke, be overweight or obese, or report poor mental health at a higher rate than the national average. More positive indicators show 16 percent of women don’t have health insurance – below the national average of 21 percent − and that only 11 percent of women have no personal health care provider, compared to 17 percent nationally.

On children’s health, Michigan ranked 31st with the fourth-lowest score, tied with the District of Columbia, Alaska, Arkansas, Illinoi, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico and West Virginia. Although 96.5 percent of Michigan children have health insurance, compared to 91 percent nationally, the state has infant and teen mortality rates that are above the national average, as well as higher rates of teen alcohol or drug abuse and confirmed cases of child maltreatment.

One out of four Michigan children and one out of five women live in poverty. Women who work earn just 74 cents for every dollar earned by men.

The study gives Michigan credit for expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to more low-income residents, for having initiatives in place to expand preschool to more children and to having a state minimum wage that’s above the federal minimum, among other policies that promote women and children’s well-being.

“However, while Michigan has more supportive policies than most other states with many abortion restrictions, it still has relatively few supportive policies when compared to less restrictive states,” the study concluded.

A copy of the study can be found here.

For More Information:
Kathy Barks Hoffman
Martin Waymire
(517) 485-6600

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