what does overturning roe v wade mean for miscarriage
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Reproductive Health Care Is At Risk in Post
Overruling Roe will harm those experiencing pregnancy complications and pregnancy loss.
The Devastating Implications of Overturning Roe Will Go Far Beyond Abortion Patients
Reactions Outside United States Supreme Court After Roe v. Wade Is Overturned
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BY GREER DONLEY AND JILL WIEBER LENS JUNE 24, 2022 12:24 PM EDT
Lens is the associate dean for research and faculty development and the Robert A. Leflar Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law
n Friday, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution no longer protects the right to an abortion, eviscerating nearly 50 years of precedent and opening the door for states to ban abortion at any point in pregnancy. This decision will have devastating effects for people needing abortion care, who will now be faced with a terrible choice: travel to a state that permits abortion (which many people cannot afford), self-manage the abortion at home (which may come with legal risks), or carry a pregnancy against their will (which has long-term financial and physical health risks).
But the coming devastation will not be limited to those seeking abortion. Overruling Roe will also harm those experiencing pregnancy complications and pregnancy loss. We are about to learn in real time that abortion is reproductive health care because without it, pregnant patients across the spectrum will suffer.Read More:
Texas provides a sad snapshot of what is to come. Starting in September, Texas’s SB8 effectively banned abortion after six weeks. Since then, some people have been denied treatment for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and severe pregnancy complications–all because of the treatments’ relationship to abortion.
Medical interventions offered for missed or incomplete miscarriage—miscarriages where the body has not registered the pregnancy loss or has not fully expelled the tissue—involve the same medications and procedures used for abortion. The only difference is whether the fetal heart has stopped first. Physicians frequently offer these patients medication to start or intensify contractions to speed up the miscarriage process. Many patients prefer this to waiting, as it can take weeks or months for the body to do this on its own.
Supporters and opponents of abortion rights demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building on June 23, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Shuran Huang for TIME
After SB8, many Texas pharmacies stopped dispensing these medications because they are also used for abortion. Pharmacists don’t know whether the patient will use the drug for abortion or miscarriage and are therefore refusing to fill prescriptions. The concern is that if the medication is used for abortion, the pharmacy or its employees could be liable for “aiding and abetting” an abortion under SB8 or for failing to adhere to Texas’s onerous regulation of medication abortion under SB4. In other countries that ban abortion, we know that medical and surgical interventions for missed or incomplete miscarriage may not be offered until weeks or months have passed, prolonging the miscarriage, increasing the medical risks, and exacerbating the grief and physical side effects.Read More:
SB8 also caused some Texas providers to stop offering interventions for inevitable pregnancy loss. At least one patient with an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, has reportedly traveled 12 to 15 hours by car to access care in other states. Some Texas providers are afraid to treat an ectopic pregnancy when fetal cardiac activity is present because it would terminate the pregnancy, albeit a non-viable pregnancy that threatens the pregnant person’s life. Other patients suffering from premature labor in previable pregnancies, where abortion is often medically indicated to prevent infection, sepsis, and death in the pregnant person, have also traveled to other states in the middle of a medical emergency to access care. Pregnancy loss is inevitable in these situations. But because the fetal heart has not yet stopped beating on its own, pregnant people are left to suffer and potentially die waiting or travel out of state to access care. In other countries like Ireland and Poland, women have died waiting for the fetal heart to stop, even though their laws also contained an exception to save the life of the mother.
In states where abortion is illegal, patients should also expect increased scrutiny and potential criminalization over their pregnancy loss. There is no way to tell the difference between someone who induced an abortion with medication and someone who had a natural loss. And thus, every pregnancy loss is suspect.Read More:
We already know that suspicion will be more likely with certain pregnant people—poor people and people of color. For decades, adverse pregnancy outcomes have been criminalized, and at least 75% of prosecutions for conduct during pregnancy are against women of color. Post Roe, this criminalization will grow exponentially. Those least likely to be suspected of abortion are those displaying the socially expected grief response and who have actively sought medical care before or during pregnancy. Due to structural inequity in the health care system, the people who have already sought medical care are much more likely to be insured, educated, and white.
Five things to know now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade
Where is abortion still legal? Could this ruling affect IVF or contraception? Here are some answers.
Five things to know now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade
BY VICTORIA KNIGHT, RACHANA PRADHAN, JULIE ROVNER
UPDATED ON: JUNE 25, 2022 / 11:49 PM / KAISER HEALTH NEWS
The Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization dramatically and rapidly alters the landscape of abortion access in the U.S. The court on June 24 ruled 6-3 to uphold a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but also to overturn the nearly half-century precedent set in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion. With the Dobbs decision, states have the ability to set their own restrictions, so where people live will determine their level of access to abortion.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, stated that "the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey [Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992] are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives."
Almost immediately after the decision was released, protests and celebrations outside the court and across the country began — highlighting the patchwork of laws and restrictions that now will take effect. State officials from conservative states said they would move quickly to restrict abortion, while in other states, some officials pledged to keep the right to access.
Here are five key points that will affect access to abortion.
1. Where is abortion still legal?
The Supreme Court ruling means access to abortion will, very shortly, be highly uneven.
Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia have laws that protect the right to abortion. In two other states, courts have ruled that the state constitution establishes that right. Those states are concentrated on the East and West coasts.
On the other end of the spectrum, 13 states have "trigger" laws that would quickly ban nearly all abortions, and at least a half-dozen moved Friday to implement them, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and South Dakota. Four more have pre-Roe bans that would again be in effect. Three other states have laws on the books that will ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Access to abortion is likely to evolve in other states, too. Kansas and Montana, which are among the states that have abortion rights enshrined in their constitutions, could see rollbacks in those protections through a ballot measure in Kansas and a legal challenge by the Montana attorney general. In at least eight states, the right to abortion isn't explicitly protected or prohibited by state law.
And in Michigan, a 1931 state law bans nearly all abortions, but its enforcement was temporarily suspended by a May court decision. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, has said she will not enforce the law, but questions remain about whether that would also be the case for local prosecutors.
As was the case before the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe decision, people seeking abortion care will also be subject to a variety of restrictions even in states where the procedure is still legal. They include gestational limits outlining the maximum point in pregnancy that someone can obtain an abortion, requirements that patients receive counseling beforehand, waiting periods, and parental notification rules for minors.
2. What can the Biden administration do?
President Joe Biden has said his administration is looking into executive actions to counteract the impact of the ruling. In remarks after the decision, Biden said that it was a "sad day" and that, without Roe, "the health and life of women in this nation is now at risk."
But in short, without a new law from Congress, he has limited options.
Supporters of abortion rights and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have pushed the administration to make it easier for women to obtain medication abortion, which is available up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and involves taking two pills, assessing whether services could be provided on federal property even in states that ban the procedure, and bolstering digital privacy to protect patients.
Medication abortion has become an increasingly large share of total abortions provided in the U.S. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights, the pills accounted for more than half of all abortions in 2020, the first year medication provided the majority.
Under the Biden administration, the Food and Drug Administration has already lifted one major restriction. Now, patients can receive mifepristone, the first drug used in the series, by mail. Mary Ziegler, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law and an abortion legal historian, said that, even as conservative states move to curtail access to medication abortion, the Biden administration could argue that the FDA's rules and guidelines on mifepristone preempt any state laws that criminalize that method. Attorney General Merrick Garland took this position in a statement he released shortly after the decision was announced: "The FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA's expert judgment about its safety and efficacy." Biden reinforced that message in his remarks.
In comments before the justices' decision was announced, Zeigler said arguing this position is "the biggest thing they could do." Still, the FDA approach is uncertain, both legally and because a future Republican administration could easily reverse any action that Biden officials take. "If it worked it wouldn't be permanent, and it may not work," she added. The Biden administration could also expand the number of pharmacies that can dispense the medication.
Seven myths about overturning Roe v. Wade
By Jonah McKeown/Catholic News Agency The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday overturning the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade as well as the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In simplest terms, this means that abortion is no longer legal nationwide — the legality of abortion is now determined at the
World & NationCatholic News Agency
Seven myths about overturning Roe v. Wade
By Catholic News Agency
June 25, 2022 0 2225 Share Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Email Print
By Jonah McKeown/Catholic News Agency
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday overturning the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade as well as the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In simplest terms, this means that abortion is no longer legal nationwide — the legality of abortion is now determined at the state level.
There are a lot of myths out there about what this ruling means and what will happen next. Here are some responses to common myths about the overturning of Roe v. Wade:
Myth 1: Abortion is now illegal in the United States.
Abortion — which the Catholic Church teaches is a “grave evil” — is still legal in many areas of the country. Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is governed by state laws, and for years some states have been legislating in a pro-life direction, and others in a pro-choice direction.
States such as Hawaii, Colorado, Nevada, New York, and Illinois have written explicit abortion protections into their state laws. Abortions there will continue, and many of those states have positioned themselves as destinations for women traveling to obtain abortions from states with more restrictions.
That said, there exist dozens of state laws regulating abortion that were, up until the court’s June 24 ruling, in legal limbo or struck down entirely for being out of step with Roe, and thus unconstitutional. Now, those laws will be able to come into effect. They include a total ban on abortion in these states: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
The legal landscape at the state level is varied and complex, as among the more pro-life states, there are a variety of kinds of restrictions that have been enacted. For example, Nebraska bans a certain kind of abortion called dilation and evacuation, which is typically done in the second trimester of pregnancy and results in the dismemberment of an unborn child. Other states, such as Arizona, have restrictions such as a ban on abortions done solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.
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A handful of states, such as Michigan, have previously-unenforceable bans on abortion, some 100 or more years old, that have never have been repealed. In Michigan, where a judge recently blocked the state’s ban, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) has repeatedly called for the ban’s complete repeal.
Some state legislatures may scramble in the coming days, weeks, or months to pass laws regulating — or deregulating — abortion.
Myth 2: Women will be harmed by this decision.
Virtually all states with “trigger” laws to ban abortion include an exception for medical emergencies, and stipulate that the person punished under the law would be the person performing the abortion, not the woman seeking one.
In addition, at least one expert observer says cases of women being prosecuted for obtaining abortions are very unlikely to occur.
“There is no documented case in America of a woman being prosecuted for seeking an abortion since 1922. There has been only one case of a woman being convicted for unlawful self-management of abortion, and that was vacated on appeal,” legal scholar O. Carter Snead wrote recently in the Economist.
“All modern abortion laws immunize the woman seeking abortion from liability.”
Speaking more broadly, there is a commonly cited study, called the Turnaway Study, which advocates of abortion say proves that most women do not regret their abortions, and that women who were denied abortions at certain points in their lives had worse mental health and economic outcomes than those who were not. The study has since been widely debunked, with its research methods and potential conflicts of interest being criticized. Many women who regret their abortions have joined the pro-life movement.
Myth 3: Women could now be jailed after having miscarriages.
About one in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Every woman will respond and process their grief differently, but needless to say, such an intensely personal and emotional occurrence should be met with compassion and loving care.
Some pro-choice activists have falsely stated that in countries such as El Salvador — where abortion is prohibited entirely — women have been investigated and jailed following miscarriages. In fact, reporting from ACI Prensa has found that the 140 cases often cited by pro-choice activists in El Salvador of women being jailed actually involve aggravated homicide of their newborn babies, rather than naturally occurring miscarriages.
In the U.S., incidents where a mother could be jailed for a miscarriage are relatively rare, and often involve instances where women used illegal and harmful drugs during pregnancy. An Oklahoma woman who was sentenced last October to four years in prison after her baby died in her womb at 17 weeks. In that case, the 21-year-old woman admitted to using methamphetamines while pregnant, and traces of meth were found in the unborn baby’s body.
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