- Infant mortality rates in the US rose last year, for the first time in 20 years. According to a report released on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Vital Statistics, the US recorded 5.6 infant deaths per 1K live births in 2022, a 3% increase from 2021.1
- White and Native American infants, infant boys, and babies born at 37 weeks or earlier had significant death rate increases. Preeclampsia and bacterial meningitis, the two leading causes of infant deaths from maternal complications, also had large increases, rising 8% and 14%.2
- The report also detailed how death rates for infants with Black mothers remained the highest of all the groups, at 10.86 per 1K births, almost twice the US average. Mortality rates for infants of Native American or Alaska Native women rose significantly, from 7.4 infant deaths per 1K to greater than nine deaths in 2022.3
- The rise in mortality rates was the first year-to-year increase from 2001 to 2002 when the rate similarly rose by 3%. Infant mortality is the measure of how many babies die before reaching their first birthday.4
- The CDC will likely release a final report next year following a more comprehensive review of the data. Researchers have not yet been able to determine whether the 2022 rise in infant mortality rates was the start of a lasting trend or a one-year statistical anomaly.5
- Experts have pointed to economic and pandemic-related stress, lack of maternal care, and limiting access to abortions and reproductive healthcare as reasons for the increase in infant mortality rates.1
- Left narrative, as provided by NBC. Planned, intentional pregnancies tend to have healthier infant outcomes. With the rollback of Roe v. Wade, and the conservative crackdown on reproductive healthcare and abortion rights, more women are being forced to carry babies they did not plan and cannot support. By removing the ability for women to decide if and when to have children, more babies are being born in unhealthy circumstances.
- Right narrative, as provided by National Review. There are many reasons why infant mortality figures may be higher in the US, ranging from illegal immigration to the disruption of COVID measures on healthcare systems. A detailed examination of the statistics and causes must be carried out before ascribing any potential linkage to abortion access.