Abortion ban cuts doctors’ jobs, jeopardizes basic health care

Conservative states are rushing to ban abortion. Law vs. Wade It has surprising consequences that abortion opponents never thought possible. That said, health care services available to all women living in these states are declining.

Physicians have shown through their words and actions that they are reluctant to practice where making the best decisions for their patients can result in huge fines and even prison terms. And when clinics that offer abortions are closed, all other services offered there, such as routine check-ups, breast cancer screenings and birth control, are also closed.

Concerns about the impact on women’s health are not being raised solely by abortion rights advocates. One recent warning came from former Trump administration Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

and tweet thread Adams wrote in April that “the price of a limited-access (and criminalized physician)-only approach to reducing abortion is actually less pregnancy safety for everyone, and higher infant and maternal mortality rates.” It is likely to increase,” he said.

Early signs of an impending medical “brain drain” emerged in February, when 76% of respondents to a survey of more than 2,000 current and future doctors said they were not working in states where abortion is regulated. or even apply for training. “In other words, many qualified candidates will no longer even consider working or training in more than half of the states in the United States,” the study authors wrote in an accompanying article.

In fact, a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that states with bans on abortion saw a greater decline in fourth-year medical students applying for residencies in 2023 than states without bans. While applications for obstetricians and gynecologists in residencies fell nationally, states with outright abortion bans fell more than twice as much as states without restrictions (10.5% vs. 5.2%).

This means fewer physicians will perform critical preventative treatments such as pap smear tests and screening for sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to infertility.

Care for pregnant women is particularly at risk, with rural hospitals closing their maternity wards due to a lack of specialists to staff them. The problem existed before the abortion ruling, but has only gotten worse since.

In March, Sandpoint, Idaho’s only hospital, Bonner General Health, said the state legislature “continues to introduce and pass legislation criminalizing doctors.” announced that it would suspend labor and delivery services, partly due to the “popular climate”. We provide medical care that is nationally recognized as the standard of care. ”

Heartbreaking reports from around the country show that abortion bans are also jeopardizing the health of some patients who have had miscarriages or other nonviable pregnancies. Earlier this year, a pregnant woman in Oklahoma with a non-viable fetus was told by a doctor that she could not be touched unless it collided in front of her and told her to wait in a parking lot until her condition worsened.

A study by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, published in Women’s Health Issues, found that physicians who practiced in states with restrictive abortion policies were more likely to die earlier than physicians in states with supportive abortion policies. They were found to be less likely to be trained to perform abortions. An abortion procedure performed on women who have had a miscarriage in early pregnancy.

But a shortage of doctors isn’t the only thing that can complicate pregnancy and childbirth. States with the most restrictive abortion regulations are least likely to offer support services for low-income mothers and infants.Even before I turn over egga report by the Commonwealth Foundation, a bipartisan research group, found that maternal mortality rates were 62% higher in states where abortion was restricted or prohibited than in states where abortion was more readily available. .

Women who know their pregnancies may be at high risk often think about becoming pregnant or becoming pregnant in states where abortion is restricted. Carmen Brosder, an Idaho woman who documented her struggles after a miscarriage in a series of videos that went viral on TikTok, told ABC News she doesn’t plan on getting pregnant again.

“Why would I want to have another child after my daughter almost lost her mother again?” she said. “It seems selfish and wrong.”

The anti-abortion movement once seemed more sensitive to allegations that its policies ignored the needs of women and children, but this accusation was criticized by former Congressman Bernie Frank (Democrat of Massachusetts). He is most famous for once saying: In the federal government’s position, life begins at conception and ends at birth. ”

In fact, anti-abortion icon Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), who died in 2007, agreed to work with liberal Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) on the Medicaid expansion bill. emphasized. Expanded coverage and provided more benefits to combat infant mortality in the late 1980s.

Few anti-abortion groups have followed suit in promoting policies that make it easier for people to conceive, give birth and raise children. Most of these efforts go unnoticed.

Earlier this year, Americans United for Life and Democrats for Life of America issued a joint opinion calling on policymakers to “make maternity free.” Some of their offers include automatic insurance with no deductibles or copays for pregnancy and childbirth. Eliminate subsidies to pay for caesarean sections and hospital births. And a “monthly mother’s scholarship” for the first two years of the child’s life.

“Free births for American mothers can and should be a means of uniting the nation, especially in times of division,” the paper said. Such a policy would not only make it easier for women to start families, but could also address the country’s dire maternal mortality rate.

But in a year when the same Republican lawmakers who support a nationwide abortion ban are pushing even harder for drastic federal budget cuts, a policy to end childbirth doesn’t seem likely to advance very far, or any time soon. seems to be

This leaves anti-abortion opponents at a kind of crossroads. Will they follow Hyde’s example and support policies that expand and protect access to care? Or will women’s health suffer from the victory of the anti-abortion movement?

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national news station that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. KHN is one of the three main operating programs of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), along with Policy Analysis and Voting. KFF is a donation non-profit organization that provides information on health issues to the public.

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