On March 12, 2010, Amnesty International issued a report entitled Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA, which documented that although the United States spends more on health care than any other country, it ranked 41st (at the time of publication) in terms of maternal death. As the report demonstrated, this is not just a matter of public health, but a human rights issue. Half of these deaths are preventable, and the report clearly demonstrated many barriers women face in accessing high quality maternal care.
2010 has been a watershed year for maternal health issues, both globally and in the US. In 2010, new studies and data were released and new legislation and initiatives developed that promise to improve maternal health. Throughout 2010, Amnesty International has been campaigning to end preventable maternal deaths in the US and around the globe. Despite some progress, more work remains to be done in order to ensure that the work of the last year will have a lasting impact. This update will examine the developments and new data on maternal health in the United States, address the expected impact on maternal health and health care of some key provi- sions in health care reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which passed on 23 March 2010, and cover some of the progress and successes that have been accomplished during the last year. All data and developments cited in this update have been released in 2010 or 2011, except where indicated.