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Near death experience inspires Texas lawmaker to take action on maternal mortality rate

CBS Newspath

TEXAS — Lawmakers in Texas gave initial passage to four bills hoping to address the state’s high maternal mortality rate.

A report showed Texas is one of the most dangerous places to give birth and one lawmaker, Representative Shawn Thierry, had a near death experience that she said inspired action on the issue, turning pain into purpose.

“Trying to be a strong woman, I didn’t want to show that vulnerability.”

But Thierry knew her story may strike a chord with fellow lawmakers.

“Quickly things took a turn and my heart started to race,” she told her colleagues on the floor Monday.

She said it wasn’t long after getting an epidural that she was in excruciating pain.

“I started squeezing the nurse hand saying ‘I need help, something is not right.'”

Doctors put her under anethesia and did an emergency c-section to save her life, but many women are not as lucky.

Making it worse, she said no one seemed to be attempting to find real solutions.

“The silence as deafening. There was no legislation filed.”

That’s why she filed House bill 11 this special session.

The bill would advise the task force studying the issue to make official recommendations and look into socioeconomic factors, mental health issues like postpardum depression, and the reason African Americans have the highest rate of complications.

Thierry said other states have seen a complete reversal of their maternal mortality rates and she wants the task force to look into how they managed to do it.

She hopes the bill makes it to the governor’s office.

“They’re not just statistics. This is someone’s daughter, their wife, sister, best friend.”

The Texas Senate passed a similar bill last week.