Will Pro-Life State Laws Hurt Women and Hinder Doctors? On this page you will find factual answers to misinformation regarding state pro-life laws in the new Dobbs era.
FEAR: Pro-Life laws will prevent physicians from caring for a woman if her pregnancy poses a serious risk to her life.
FACT: All state abortion laws in effect have exemptions to save the life of the mother. Due to modern medicine, these situations are thankfully rare, but when they do occur, there is no legal or medical question that the life of the mother can be protected.
An entire subspeciality of obstetrics, known as maternal-fetal medicine, exists to help high-risk pregnant women and their unborn child make it safely through pregnancy and delivery, or provide necessary medical care when a mother’s life is at risk.
FEAR: Pro-Life laws won’t allow doctors to treat women with ectopic pregnancies.
FACT: Medical care for ectopic pregnancies is not an abortion and is not prohibited by any pro-life law. Plus, every law in effect has exemptions to save the life of the mother, which would cover cases of ectopic pregnancies. Even Planned Parenthood admits that “treating an ectopic pregnancy isn’t the same as getting an abortion.”
Although the overwhelming majority of OB/GYNs do not perform abortion, all obstetricians can and do perform surgical removal of an ectopic pregnancy or treat with methotrexate to protect the mother from the risks of ectopic pregnancies.
FEAR: Pro-Life laws will prevent physicians from treating miscarriages and women who have miscarriages will be sent to jail.
FACT: The pro-life laws going into effect explicitly and specifically exclude treatment for a miscarriage, which is not the same as an induced abortion.
Although treatment can be similar to abortion, such as dilation and suction procedures, there is a clear difference between actively ending fetal life, as in abortion, and providing medical care for a woman after that fetal life has already ended, as in the heartbreak of a miscarriage.
MYTH: Abortion has no adverse mental health effects on women.
FACT: There is no longer any scientific doubt that abortion contributes to increased rates of mental health disorders among women, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, excessive risk-taking, self-harm, and suicide. America’s inadequate maternal mortality reporting system often does not detect these “deaths of despair” related to abortion, though international studies from countries with more robust data show a woman is far more likely to die from a mental health cause in the year following abortion than after giving birth to a child.
FEAR: Black women will suffer disproportionately from maternal mortality in pro-life states that limit abortion.
FACT: Black women have a maternal mortality rate 3.4 times that of white women. Black women also have abortion rates nearly 4 times higher than white women. Clearly, higher rates of abortion are not protecting Black women from maternal mortality and may even be increasing the risk. There are many reasons this may be happening which demand further study. Advocating to end the lives of even more Black children is not the answer to this or any other problem.
FACT: A miscarriage is not an induced abortion and no pro-life law prohibits it. There’s a clear legal distinction between providing medical care in the heartbreak of a miscarriage and an abortion.
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