Ohio Republican Says U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Is Only Bad If You Count “Obese People”


A funny (“funny”) thing about the Republicans who want to ban abortion is that while they force people to give birth against their own will, they steadfastly refuse to do anything to improve the conditions in which these forced births occur. Take Ohio state representative Bill Dean, currently running for reelection. He believes that anyone who undergoes an abortion is a murderous “heathen” but he also apparently doesn’t care at all about the fact that the United States has the worst maternal mortality rate of all wealthy countries, or that it’s the only developed country where the mortality rate has gotten worse over the last three decades. In fact, he thinks there are virtually no risks whatsoever to being a pregnant person in America and that if the statistics say otherwise, it’s because they’re being dragged down by fat people.

Speaking to the Dayton Daily News, Dean declared that women face “no great risk of dying” from pregnancy, adding: “Pregnancy is a natural thing that women are made for. That’s the way God made them. The myth is that it is dangerous; it’s no more dangerous than living every day.” Incredibly, he went on to add, “I’m not a physician,” as though anyone was laboring under that assumption. “But I would imagine, a lot of times, it’s the lifestyle of the lady that’s having the pregnancy. We also have the most obese people in the whole world. It’s just individual cases.”

As the Dayton Daily News notes, a 2019 study by the Commonwealth Fund put the risk of maternal death in the US at double that of most other wealthy nations, with the risk of pregnancy-related death getting worse during the pandemic. Obviously, that cannot all be chalked up to obesity, but, more likely, the dreadful cost of health care in this country, especially for low-income women and those of color. (According to the CDC, the maternal mortality rate for Black women is three to four times higher than it is for white women.) Meanwhile, a 2020 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that states that passed laws restricting abortion saw their maternal mortality rates rise by roughly 38%.

Responding to Dean’s ridiculous comments, his opponent, Jim Duffee—who actually did practice medicine before retiring—said: “Although most pregnancies are joyous occasions, pregnancy is a dangerous time for women. The Republican candidate’s lack of understanding of this issue reveals his lack of interest in solving a problem that affects many families he wants to represent.” Duffee added that Dean “should not be representing us and the people, who need someone in that position who looks at the data, pays attention to that data, and makes decisions based on that data. What we’re talking about is a serious problem and there are evidence-based interventions to solve them.” The Democrat also addressed Dean’s equally idiotic claim that most abortions are done out of convenience, saying, “Late trimester gestational abortions are…almost always related to life-threatening conditions for the mother or the baby, or severe chromosomal and genetic malformation that places mother and baby in danger.”

Ohio’s current abortion law—which resulted in a 10-year-old rape victim being forced to go out of state for the medical procedure—only allows exceptions to prevent the death of the mother when there are significant risks of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant mother,” as is the case in ectopic pregnancies.

Speaking of ectopic pregnancies, Dean cosponsored a 2019 bill that would have charged doctors with murder for failure to “reimplant” ectopic pregnancies, a procedure that does not exist. In case there was any question if he’s ever had any idea what he’s talking about. 


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