Keith Ellison: 'Women are dying because we are losing elections'

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonOvernight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements House Dems launching Medicare for All Caucus Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback MORE (D-Minn.) is urging Democrats to go to the polls, saying “women are dying” because the left is losing elections.

The Democratic National Committee vice chairman spoke at a progressive training session on Friday and said the party needs to triumph at the ballot box for the sake of women's health.

“Women are dying because we are losing elections,” Ellison said. “We don’t have the right to lose a damn election. We have to win. We have to win.”

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Maternal morality is rising in states like Missouri and Texas, Ellison said.

The United States has one of the highest rates of maternal deaths among wealthy and developed countries.

In 2013, there were 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in the United States. 

Missouri has the one of the highest maternal death rates in the nation, with 19.9 deaths per 100,00 births in 2016.

That rate places Missouri on par with countries like Belize and worse than poorer countries like Moldova and Costa Rica, the Kansas City Star reported last December. 

The leading causes of maternal death in Missouri are all cardiac-related. The state's high rates of smoking and obesity worsen those complications. 

The risks are magnified if a woman doesn't see a doctor regularly during pregnancy, like the 17.5 percent of Missouri women who received no prenatal care during their first trimester, the Star reported.  

Last month, Ellison urged Democrats to support single-payer health care.