Dr. Jeff Barrows of the Christian Medical Dental Association tells AFN it was sad to review data showing the U.S. is ranked 19 out of 20 top countries.
“To me, it's disappointing that we aren't doing better,” he says. “And there are a lot of causes to it, and a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but that's my first reaction.”
The figures got noticed by Live Action, the pro-life group, which said the preterm birth rate is currently 10.5%. The infant mortality rate dropped from 6.1 per 1,000 live births to 5.4.
Farther down in the data, Barrows says the figures suggest women undergoing an abortion are plagued with premature births later in life.
“Anytime a woman has a single elective abortion she raises her risk of having a subsequent preterm birth by about 30%,” he warns. “And if she has two elective abortions, her risk goes from the base line of 10% all the way up to 18%.”
Other factors that harm pregnancies range from poor access to heath care to consuming drugs and alcohol. Black mothers and Native American mothers are most at risk, according to the March of Dimes.