The Extraordinary Danger of Being Pregnant and Uninsured in Texas

Over three years, nearly 400 pregnant or new mothers died in Texas. Its system for helping the uninsured thwarts women at every turn, frustrates doctors and midwives, and incentivizes substandard care.

by Nina Martin, ProPublica, and Julia Belluz, Vox Dec. 6, 5 a.m.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published. This story was co-published with Vox and the Texas Tribune.

Rosa Diaz was no stranger to hunger and stress and a throbbing pain in the gut that was usually nothing serious — gastritis, she had been told, or lactose intolerance. When she became ill on the evening of Jan. 6, 2015, she figured it was the hot chocolate she’d been drinking with her family to celebrate El Día de los Reyes. It was made with milk, but she finished it anyway, savoring every drop.

In the middle of the night, her oldest daughter, Diana, found her on the couch, clutching her belly and moaning. Diana half-carried her to the bathroom, offering her some Alka-Seltzer and a sip of Gatorade to wash the antacid down. Rosa started to shiver and cry. “Let me drive you to the emergency room,” Diana urged. “No, I don’t have insurance,” Rosa protested. “I just want to go to sleep. I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

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