One major problem with today’s Republican Party is that its policies and leadership are often dangerous, if not deadly. To make matters worse, GOP bluster typically arrives so tightly wrapped in divisive populism that even the most sound arguments and sincerest warnings have trouble reaching all their intended targets.
Months or years later, when the tragic consequences of doing things the Republican way becomes painfully evident, the damage has already been done. However, each such story can stand as another advertisement for why voters should think twice before taking chances with more Republican “leadership” in the next election.
For example, as Axios warned this week: “Giving birth in America continues to get deadlier.” Multiple reports from March of Dimes and Milken Institute paint an increasingly bleak picture of millions of women living in areas with little to no access to maternity care along with growing maternal mortality rates. However, the states with the highest rates and poor care access are often the ones with the strictest abortion restrictions. Experts warn that further abortion restrictions that would increase the number of births will only exacerbate this situation.
In addition, abortion restrictions appear to be tied to the growing problem of “maternal care deserts.” New doctors have been more likely to avoid applying to residency programs in states with strict abortion laws. According to a recent study from the Association of American Medical Colleges, there was a 10.5% decrease in OB-GYN applicants this year in states with near-total abortion bans, and, according to an earlier Axios analysis, it is “unlikely” that such doctors will relocate to such states “fearing they could run afoul of a rash of new reproductive care restrictions.”
Dire consequences from Republican Party affiliation are also showing up when it comes to deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine focusing on Florida and Ohio found that the overall excess death rate of Republican voters was 15% higher than of Democratic voters. After vaccination became possible, the gap widened to as high as 43%. According to the study’s authors, “The results suggest that well-documented differences in vaccination attitudes and reported uptake between Republican and Democratic voters may have been factors in the severity and trajectory of the pandemic.”
Maternal mortality rates, access to maternity care, and pandemic deaths are among the most serious topics the United States has been facing. The nation deserves to be led by a party that prioritizes the health and welfare of all Americans over tough talk and reckless battle cries. Once again, the Republicans have proven they are not that party.