Red states banning abortions are now endangering standard pregnancy care too

Red states banning abortions are now endangering standard pregnancy care too

A new study reveals how radical anti-abortion laws implemented by Republicans in “red” states such as Louisiana have critically degraded—and, in some cases, completely eliminated—established standards of normal and necessary medical care expected by women and others during pregnancy. Drawing upon extensive data collection, records reviews, and interviews with physicians in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the study by Lift Louisiana shows how even routine, uncomplicated pregnancies are now a dangerous proposition for those living in states banning abortion. Should Republicans succeed in imposing a national ban on abortion—as has been proposed by Donald Trump—the same consequences would be inflicted on the entire nation. 

The Lift Louisiana study, titled “Criminalized Care: How Louisiana’s Abortion Bans Endanger Patients and Clinicians,” is significant because it implicates medical care for all pregnancies, not just “high-risk” ones. What it shows is that the pervasive impact of these laws on the practice of medicine is no longer limited to fearful doctors and hospitals reluctant to treat pregnant patients whose fetuses may have life-threatening conditions. Nor are their impacts limited to the refusal by clinicians to adequately treat patients who themselves might die or suffer harm by continuing their pregnancies.

Those appalling outcomes have been amply documented in several states since the Supreme Court decided to allow individual state legislatures to act as experimental laboratories, imposing tighter and tighter restrictions on anyone who might want or need to terminate a pregnancy. What is unprecedented about the Lift Louisiana study is that it shows a stunning drop in standard care applicable to all pregnant patients, directly as a result of the state’s punitive anti-abortion law. 

RELATED STORY: Supreme Court takes up abortion again—now over access to widely used medication

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