BOISE, Idaho —  Legislation to determine why so many Idaho women die while pregnant or from childbirth-related complications has been signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.

Little earlier this week signed the legislation to create a panel of doctors and medical professionals to study maternal deaths, and then make recommendations about how to reduce such deaths.

Idaho's maternal death rate is slightly higher than the national average at about 27 per 100,000 births. The United States' maternal mortality rate of roughly 26 deaths per 100,000 births is more than three times higher than many European countries, and most states have created review panels similar to the one now planned in Idaho.

The legislation in February made it through the House on a vote of 34-33, with those opposed voicing privacy concerns. The legislation passed the Senate 30-3.

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