Health

Abortion Bans: 5 Things Women’s Health Advocates Want You To Know

The Hill

With the overturn of 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on June 24, 2022 by the Supreme Court, it has also overturned the constitutional right to have an abortion, and now, it is based on state law. This means that women that are seeking an abortion living in states where it is now considered illegal will have to drive long distances to find a clinic where first, it’s legal to perform one, and two, dependent on how far the pregnancy has already progressed.

But along with these new rules and the loss of female’s abortion rights also comes issues that women’s health advocates believe you should know.

  1. It Will Harm Minorities and Those with Less Money

When someone is forced to raise a child, it may limit their ability to work, as well as limit their ability to build a sustainable career on the long-term. Raegan McDonald- Mosley, MD, MPH, and CEO of Power to Decide, a campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, said, “People will suffer. They will miss work, and will have to travel long distances [to states where abortion is still legal]. The consequences will fall most heavily on people of color, and people who live with lower incomes, those in rural areas, and younger people — those under 18. People unable to get abortions are more likely to live in poverty, and their children are less likely to meet [developmental] milestones. The stakes are high.”

According to a February 2022 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women in the US already suffer from higher death rates during pregnancy, childbirth, and soon after delivering a child than any other developed country, more so for Black and Hispanic mothers.

  1. Denying Abortion Rights Hurts People

Dr. Woodruff, who was a part of the Turnaway Study – a study that found how people that wanted abortions but didn’t get them because of legal limitations ended up living poorer health outcomes – also shared her thoughts on the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“Our research shows that when we deny people abortion care, it causes real, lasting harm to families and children. People who can’t get the abortion they want and instead are forced to give birth have worse physical health, are less likely to achieve their life goals, and are more likely to live in poverty for years to come, than people who did get an abortion,” she said.

In the same way, children whose mothers were denied having an abortion tend to grow up in poverty and missing their developmental milestones as a result, she also shared.

Woodruff added, “The science is clear: Access to abortion is good for pregnant people, their families, and their communities.”

 

  1. The Decision Isn’t Based on Science

Dr. McDonald-Mosley explains, “There is no public health reason that is valid to restrict access to abortion.” Moreover, she shares that actually the public health and medical data available regarding the implications of having an abortion actually show that the opposite is true.

In addition, public health social scientist at ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) – a program of the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California in San Francisco – Katie Woodruff, DrPH, said, “Abortion is very safe at any stage of pregnancy. In fact, carrying a pregnancy to term is much riskier to people’s physical health. People should have the right to decide for themselves when and whether to take on that risk.

  1. Prohibiting Abortion Rights Rejects People’s Personal Autonomy

Experts share that pregnancy should never be a punishment. Woodruff explains, “People who are pregnant can and do make the right decisions for themselves. Many people don’t realize that the most common emotion following abortion is relief. The vast majority of people who have abortions are certain about their decision and continue to believe it was the right decision for them, even years later.”

  1. Abortion Access Is Expanding Worldwide

Unlike the United States, McDonald-Mosley shares that there are a number of countries that have either just recently allowed or expanded their access to abortion. In 2020, Northern Ireland just legalized abortions after having restricted them for a long time. Then in the Republic of Ireland, they did the same in 2018. As for Mexico, their supreme court ruled that abortions were constitutional in 2021, while Colombia followed suit in February 2022, legalizing abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, “In the U.S., we are going in the opposite direction.” McDonald-Mosely said.