Ellison: “Women Are Dying Because We Are Losing Elections”

Rep. Keith Ellison spoke at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee conference last week, blaming Republicans’ recent electoral wins for maternal mortality.

Credit: Lorie Shaull

WASHINGTON – Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said “women are dying” because Democrats are losing elections.

Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, spoke at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee conference last week, blaming Republicans’ recent electoral wins for maternal mortality.

“Did you know that in Missouri and Texas and maybe other places, maternal mortality has risen?” Ellison asked.

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

In 2016, Missouri had the 28.5 deaths per 100,00 births, significantly higher than the national average. According to the United Health Foundation’s 2016 Health of Women and Children Report, the deaths were overwhelming cardiac-related, likely exacerbated by the state’s high rate of smoking and obesity during pregnancy.

Concerns over the maternal mortality rate in Texas have proved to be unfounded. A recent study revealed the data used to calculate the state’s maternal mortality rate was inaccurate, resulting in a ratio that was more than double the actual rate.

Ellison called on progressives to take over the “state legislature, the city council, the school board, and Congress” so they can implement “universal single-payer Medicare For All.” Ellison said this progressive vision is “truly democratic” and “reflects the priorities of the American people.”

Ellison prefaced his comments by explaining why he took the position as deputy chairman for the DNC after losing to Tom Perez, saying you “gotta be all in for the team.”

“I ran for chair of the Democratic National Committee and I ended up being deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee,” Ellison said. “You gotta be all in for the team. And it might not come out your way, but the passion and the issues and the people I was fighting for–they’re still there. What am I going to do? Say, ‘I didn’t win. I’m out of here.’ No.”

The “progressive change” training conference featured other prominent progressive politicians including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The conference had been in the works for six months and drew progressive candidates from across the country. Candidates participating in the conference were encouraged to be reject notions that they must run as centrists candidates, instead being encouraged to embrace progressive policy positions, according to ABC News.

Watch part of Ellison’s keynote address below:

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