look at Bernie Sanders' stance on some of the most important issues affecting women's health, including abortion access.">
In 2015, the United States was one of only 13 countries to have worse rates of maternal mortality in 2015 than in 1990. It shared this title with countries such as North Korea and Zimbabwe.
The reasons for this are various and include obesity-related complications such as hypertension and diabetes and a lack of access to affordable, quality health care for many low-income women and women of color.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has consistently addressed women's rights including a right to health throughout his career. Here is a look at his stance on some of the most important issues affecting women's health:
A Woman's Right To Choose
With a lifetime pro-choice record, Sanders opposes all restrictions on abortion.
In 2012 he wrote: "We are not returning to the days of back-room abortions, when countless women died or were maimed. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman, her family and physician to make, not the government."
If elected the Vermont senator has promised to “only nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services."
Sanders knows that the key to reducing abortions is to focus attention on prevention, education and contraception. In the past, the senator has sponsored bills that ensure access and funding for contraception as well as legislation that expands birth control and protects women's reproductive rights.
In January 2009, Sanders voted for the "Prevention First Act," which finances Family Life Education . This provides funding for family planning, access to contraceptives and measures to help teenagers unwanted pregnancies and STIs.
Universal Paid Maternity Leave
If elected president, Sanders promises to work toward “requiring employers to provide 12 weeks paid family... leave,” pointing out that the U.S. is way behind other countries on this issue. “We are the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee its workers some form of paid family leave," he states on his website.
"Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies," he adds, emphasizing that paid maternity leave is beneficial to the health of both mother and child as well as overall family values.
Universal Health Care
Sanders' plan for a single-payer, universal health care system would probably be his most important contribution to maternal health.
An estimated 74 percent of all maternal deaths could be prevented if women had unlimited access to health care, including the ability to prevent pregnancy and birth complications.
It would allow women from all income-levels to receive the required prenatal and postnatal care they need, without putting a financial burden on families and having women forego care because of the high costs associated with it.
Compared to front- runner Hillary Clinton, Sanders understands that keeping Obamacare in place will not solve the problem of 29 million Americans without insurance and millions more suffering from underinsurance.