(CNN) — Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth in the United States have doubled in the past 20 years, a development that a human rights group called “scandalous and disgraceful” Friday.
In addition, the rights group said, about 1.7 million women a year, one-third of pregnant women in the United States, suffer from pregnancy-related complications.
Most of the deaths and complications occur among minorities and women living in poverty, it noted.
Amnesty International issued a report Friday that calls on President Obama to take action.
“This country’s extraordinary record of medical advancement makes its haphazard approach to maternal care all the more scandalous and disgraceful,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
“Good maternal care should not be considered a luxury available only to those who can access the best hospitals and the best doctors. Women should not die in the richest country on earth from preventable complications and emergencies,” Cox said in a news release.