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Brazilian Childbirth Fatalities Cited

More women die in childbirth in Brazil than any other country in Latin America, a university study released Saturday reported.

The study by the public health department of the University of Sao Paulo showed that 148 women die for every 100,000 children born.

“The majority of these deaths could have been avoided with normal prenatal care,” Eleonora Menicucci de Oliveira, a health professor, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

The study said the principal causes of death are hypertension, heart failure, infections and hemorrhaging, the latter due to botched abortions.

Health experts estimate that each year 1.5 million women seek out illegal abortions of which 10,000 die from complications. Abortion is only legal in Brazil in cases of rape or to save a woman’s life.