Apart from the important fact that it’s no one else’s damn business whether a woman decides to carry a pregnancy to term or not, banning abortion is an outrageous intrusion into the medical community’s ability to deliver healthcare. That’s because giving birth is a messy, complicated business, and a lot can go wrong.
The miscarriage rate is somewhere in the range of 10% to 20%, and the vast majority of miscarriages — about 80% — happen before the 12-week mark. But elected and appointed religious fanatics with no medical qualifications are inserting themselves into complex, personal, often fraught healthcare decisions anyway, and unsurprisingly, it isn’t going well: (WaPo gift link)
Sweeping restrictions and even outright abortion bans adopted by states in the year since the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling have had an overwhelmingly negative effect on maternal health care, according to a survey of OBGYNs released Wednesday that provides one of the clearest views yet of how the U.S. Supreme Court decision has affected women’s health care in the United States.
The poll by the health research nonprofit KFF reveals that the Dobbs ruling — which ended federal protection on the right to abortion — affected maternal mortality and how pregnancy-related medical emergencies are managed, precipitated a rise in requests for sterilization and has done much more than restrict abortion access. Many OBGYNs said it has also made their jobs more difficult and legally perilous than before, while leading to worse outcomes for patients.
Almost 70% of surveyed OBGYNs say it’s harder for them to manage emergencies related to pregnancy post-Dobbs. Fully 70% said the ruling is making the shameful racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes worse. Nearly two-thirds of respondents say the decision is making pregnancy-related mortality rates rise, and 55% report that Dobbs makes it harder to attract doctors to the OBGYN field.
To sum up, by hefty margins, surveyed OBGYNs say the Dobbs decision is a disaster for women’s healthcare. This was predictable before the ruling, and here’s another prediction that also requires no special insight: The fanatics who are imposing restrictions won’t give a damn about these results and will ignore future data that confirms the doctors’ concerns.
Why? Because they don’t give a damn about women. But post-Dobbs election results indicate lots of voters do. I sure hope that continues because otherwise, we’ll keep going backwards.