Emergency abortions preserved in Idaho, strict bans remain in Texas

Emergency abortions preserved in Idaho, strict bans remain in Texas

Emergency abortions preserved in Idaho, strict bans remain in Texas

People at an anti-abortion protest in Texas.Share on Pinterest
As emergency abortions are preserved in Idaho, new research finds that child deaths have increased in Texas, where strict abortion bans remain. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images
  • This month, the Supreme Court upheld access to the abortion pill nationwide and emergency abortions in Idaho.
  • Meanwhile, in Texas, where abortion bans are among the strictest in the US, a new study found an increase in infant mortality after the 2021 abortion ban.
  • Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) prohibits abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected without emergency exceptions.
  • Access to quality prenatal care can be lifesaving no matter where you live, but it’s especially important in states like Texas.s.

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court voted unanimously to preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone.

On June 27, Supreme Court justices temporarily ruled in favor of pregnant women seeking emergency abortions in Idaho, which could save lives.

Meanwhile, in states like Texas, where abortion bans and restrictions are among the strictest in the country, infant mortality rates have increased following the 2021 abortion ban.

A new report shows that Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), the Texas law that banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, may have caused the increase in fetal deaths.

The law, which took effect on September 21, 2021, provided no exemption for congenital abnormalities and banned abortions as early as five or six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics on June 24, suggests that pregnant women were forced to keep their pregnancies even when the fetuses had potentially lethal fetal abnormalities. The researchers estimated that SB 8 resulted in 216 additional infant deaths that would not have occurred if the ban had not gone into effect.

Previous research has found that states with abortion restrictions have more infant deaths than states that allow the procedure.

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold emergency abortions could help reduce infant deaths in Idaho, but in Texas, those preventable deaths rest in the hands of SB 8.

“Pregnant people deserve comprehensive access to abortion care, regardless of circumstance. The only way to ensure that people can access the care they need, in emergencies or in any other circumstances, is to repeal all bans and restrictions on abortion,” said Destiny Lopez, Interim Co-CEO of the Guttmacher Institute , in a statement provided to Healthline. in response to the Supreme Court’s June 27 decision.

The new JAMA The report is believed to be the first to specifically look at how SB 8 contributed to child deaths.

Jessie Hill, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who specializes in reproductive rights, told Healthline that she is not surprised that the increase in infant deaths was a consequence of SB 8.

“I think it was a completely predictable result of the almost total ban on abortion in Texas,” she said.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health calculated for the first time the number of infant deaths in the US and Texas between 2018 and 2022. There were 102,391 infant deaths in the country, of which 10,351 occurred in Texas.

They then analyzed monthly death certificate data between 2021 and 2022 and found that the number of infant deaths, or deaths of children under 12 months of age, increased by 12.9 percent in Texas — from 1,985 to 2,240.

Growth in the rest of the US, by comparison, was just 1.8 percent.

To better understand the impact of SB 8, the research team then focused on the number of infant deaths recorded between March and December 2022, which is the time period when the first pregnancies with SB.8 in force occurred.

Based on the researchers’ estimates, the law resulted in 216 additional infant deaths, representing a 12.7 percent increase in infant deaths.

According to researchers, abortion bans like SB 8 prevent people from ending pregnancies, including those with severe fetal abnormalities that are diagnosed later in pregnancy.

Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality in the US – they account for 1 in 5 infant deaths in the past. DATA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows.

An increase in infants born with birth defects, some of which are fatal, would then lead to an increase in infant deaths.

“Despite amazing advances in neonatal intensive care, pediatric surgery and other advanced treatments, when it comes to congenital anomalies, some conditions are so severe that they cannot be resolved,” said Arianna Cassidy, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine physician in UCSF Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, told Healthline.

For example, babies with congenital abnormalities who are born prematurely may not be old enough to receive the treatments they need to survive, Cassidy said.

And for infants with congenital abnormalities who are candidates for surgery, the surgeries themselves come with risks.

“Every surgery has risks, such as developing an infection or developing another complication that could be fatal,” Cassidy says, noting that there are many ways complications from surgery for abnormalities could lead to an increase in infant deaths.

It is also believed that abortion restrictions could expose pregnant women to potential risks, including financial and emotional stress, which could lead to complications.

More studies are needed to better understand why the child deaths occurred, the researchers said.

His findings JAMA The study highlights the serious health consequences – for both infants and their families – that occur when abortions are banned.

Last EVIDENCE revealed that infant mortality disproportionately affects black women and that the death of a child leads to significant trauma and potentially criminalization.

Hill believes it is irrational for pregnant women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term and give birth only to see the babies die shortly afterwards.

“This report further demonstrates the profound cruelty of abortion bans like the one in Texas,” Hill said.

For Cassidy, the findings are scary, especially when you consider the ripple effect this type of law can have.

“It’s the suffering and death of infants, but also the suffering of women and families, the grief and loss of entire communities, the moral harm to doctors and other healthcare providers and the cost of prolonged hospital stays,” she said.

Hill hopes the findings will make people question whether states that ban abortions are truly motivated by an interest in preserving life.

“If the state really wants to protect infants, it has many means to do so, such as increasing access to prenatal care and health care in general,” Hill said.

This month, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of maintaining access to the abortion pill mifepristone nationwide, as well as emergency abortion access in Idaho.

In Texas, however, the nation’s strictest abortion bans remain. A new report found that SB 8, the Texas law that banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, may have caused an increase in infant deaths.

The ban likely prevented people from terminating pregnancies, including those with severe, life-threatening fetal abnormalities that are usually diagnosed later in pregnancy.