Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) raised the stakes for 2018 at a progressive training session Friday, framing Democratic success in elections as a matter of life and death.
Ellison, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told attendees at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee event that maternal mortality rates are going up as Democrats are losing elections and influence on health care policy.
What did he say?
"They need me to put more in, they need me to put my back into it, more than before," Ellison said, referring to women needing Democratic politicians to put forth greater effort. "Because their lives depend upon it.
"Did you know that in Missouri and in Texas, and maybe other places, maternal mortality has risen. Women are dying because we are losing elections. We don't have the right to lose a damn election. We have to win! We have to win!" Ellison exclaimed over applause.
Escalating the health care debate
Ellison has urged Democrats to support single-payer health care, and is claiming that Republican attacks on Obamacare have led to women not getting the necessary treatment during pregnancy.
"I believe universal health care coverage is the civil rights issue of our time," Ellison's website reads. "The need for safe, affordable health care is an issue that affects us all."
Pregnant women's access to health insurance and women's health care services have been found to be key factors in dealing with maternal mortality.
However, researchers caution that the cause of this issue are complex, with other factors including drug use and mental health/suicide, making it inaccurate to highlight things like cuts to Planned Parenthood funding as the sole cause.
"Maternal mortality is incredibly complex, and there isn't going to be a single thing that is the cause," said Lisa Holler, chair of a state-appointed task force in Texas studying maternal mortality, according to the Texas Tribune.
(H/T The Hill)