October 5, 2022

How outlawing abortion could worsen America’s maternal mortality crisis

5 min read


“I was standing there bleeding, waiting for permission to stop it. It’s an unpleasant feeling. It’s a sad feeling. And you’re sitting there watching his blood pressure drop when you allow it.” The chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida told CNN. “It simply came to our notice then [Roe] It is really reversed, that it will happen in the whole country where [terminating a pregnancy] That is unlikely to be the case for many states. “

Dr. Lewis and other healthcare professionals fear that a potentially widespread abortion ban could exacerbate the maternal mortality crisis in the United States, increasing the likelihood that Roe v. Wade – A landmark decision that legalized the practice in 1973. Can be reversed In the coming months. Healthcare experts told CNN they feared that reducing access to abortion – by closing clinics, setting early pregnancy limits or outlawing the procedure – would make the state May lead to more pregnancy-related deaths in the United States.
The United States has a high rate of pregnancy-related deaths. The most in the developed world And as time goes on, black women are three times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women. The CDC recently reported that the pregnancy-related mortality rate has risen from 20.1 in 2019 to 23.8 in 2020, continuing a worrying trend of deteriorating maternal health outcomes for people in the United States. ۔
If the Supreme Court reverses Roy vs. Wade. As suggested in a draft opinion.More than half of all states are ready to ban abortion through existing restrictions. “Trigger Rules” If Roe is reversed, it will be enforced. As a result, more than 10 million people of reproductive age will have to cross state lines. Access the procedure. According to the Gutmacher Institute, a pro-choice research and policy institute in the nearby state where it is legal.

“[People] Whitney Rice, director of the Center for Reproductive Health Research at Emory University in the Southeast, said unsafe methods of terminating pregnancy could be explored and could have harmful consequences. Periods and the likelihood of health consequences for children, including low birth weight, premature birth, or maternal mortality. “

Maternal mortality rates are already high in these states. Certainty or possibility Restricting abortion – 47% higher than the national rate, according to CNN’s analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 data, the latest available.
Overall, the states with the most restricted abortion laws have a 7% higher maternal mortality rate than the less restrictive states. Study of 2021 In the American Journal of Public Health.
States that have banned abortions based on pregnancy limits have seen a 38% increase in maternal mortality rates. A 2020 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Between 2007-2015, the state’s maternal mortality rate increased by an average of 8%, resulting in a 20% reduction in planned parent clinics.

The risk of maternal mortality is perceived to be unequal.

According to the CDC, non-Hispanic whites and blacks are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than Hispanics. With less access to abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, experts fear that these rates may increase in the post-Roe scenario.

These differences are rooted in decades of structural damage and Well documented distinction in medical careThis creates a vacuum at the socio-economic and educational levels.

“[Marginalized groups] Dr. Lewis said that there are really obstacles in every path. “They face barriers to getting timely care, barriers to being able to see a healthcare provider, and then getting proper treatment. Treatment should be offered. “

Access to maternity care is difficult in states that have banned abortion.

Access to maternity care is even worse in the 26 states where the Gutmacher Institute expects abortion ban to be certain or possible. According to CNN’s analysis of March of Dimes data, more than half of the counties in these states are classified as having low access to maternity care or are deserts of maternity care. Compared to 39% of counties which are unlikely. If Roe is overturned to ban abortion.

Nationwide, approximately 5.1 million women aged 15-44 live in areas with limited access to maternity care – or “deserts of maternity care,” according to a 2020 report. March of the DimesA non-profit organization that advocates for better healthcare outcomes for mothers and children. The organization defines the desert of maternity care as any county where there is no hospital offering maternity care, no birth center and no maternity provider. In these counties, pregnant women may face significant barriers to accessing quality care for both parents and children. The average annual household income for these counties in 2020 was $ 49,518, which was lower than the national average household income of $ 67,521.

“Such structural environments go hand in hand,” Rice said. “Even in states with highly restricted abortion environments, support for the health and well-being of pregnant women as well as their children and their families is generally accepted.” There are fewer policies. ”

Legal abortions are low risk and safe – but lack of access to procedures puts women at risk.

Negative health consequences of having a legal abortion are rare – According to the CDCBetween 2013-2018, the national mortality rate was 0.41 deaths per 100,000 abortions. In 2018, the CDC identified only two patients who died as a result of legal abortion. Mortality-related mortality rates have remained stable over the past several decades, with maternal mortality rates rising.
But people who try to terminate their pregnancy and are unable to do so are more likely to experience adverse health consequences. Turnway Study, A multi-year effort based at the University of California-San Francisco to find out the health of people who were – and were not – able to have the desired abortion. Research has shown that women who were denied abortion and had access to abortion reported more life-threatening conditions, such as eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage, as well as chronic conditions such as Except for high levels of migraine and permanent joint pain that were able to access abortion. . Two women in the study who were denied an abortion died of pregnancy complications. Lauren Ralph, an epidemiologist who worked on the study at the University of California-San Francisco, described the deaths as “severe.”

“I think we can say with certainty that these deaths could have been avoided if these people had had access to abortion care,” Ralph said.

If Rowe is reversed, Ralph and other experts warn that maternal mortality rates in the United States will continue to rise if pregnant women are unable to access the care they need.

“This is a wake-up call that we should stop being so complacent and we need to consider more proactive strategies,” said Dr. Lewis, of the role of the medical community in providing safe access to abortion.



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