Tanya Luis: It is Scientific American60-second science. I’m Tanya Lewis.

A draft Supreme Court opinion expired on Monday, causing shock. The opinion – if formally adopted – will be repealed Rowe vs. Wade, the remarkable 1973 decision guaranteeing the right to abortion. Although experts expected this result, the leak was still a surprise.

Diana Green Foster: The heartlessness of the decision is also somewhat shocking …, the idea that the Constitution does not protect people’s decisions about something as fundamental as birth, when it has such a huge impact on their health and their ability to support their children.

Louis: It is Diana Green Foster, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She led Deviation studya longitudinal study of nearly 1,000 women seeking abortions who either had them or were “rejected” because they were just above the limit of pregnancy.

Contrary to what some anti-abortion activists say, abortion has taken place no harm women. In fact, the women who were it can not for access to abortion are those who see negative effects, the study found.

Foster: What we are seeing are very large health burdens, greater risks to the health of people who are pregnant to term. This is consistent with the medical literature. We see greater complications from childbirth than from abortion, and in fact two women died after giving birth.

Louis: But the impact is not limited to health. Denial of abortion also had long-term negative effects on families’ finances.

Foster: Once a group has given birth, people who have had abortions and have been denied abortions there, you can see in their credit files, you can see in their public financial records that one group has suffered greater bankruptcies, evictions, more great debt from other people who received their requested abortion.

Louis: The lack of access to abortion and forcing them to conceive by term has led to worse outcomes for these women. I should note that the Turnaway study includes women in particular, but of course not all people who become pregnant or seek an abortion are women.

And it is not that people who have abortions are radically different from those who want children. In fact, many women who sought abortion later had children when they were ready, and those children did better and were safer, Foster and her colleagues found.

Foster: When they continue to have an abortion and continue to have a baby, we see that these babies do better than their own children because their mother is denied an abortion because of the mother’s emotional connection to the child, the children’s economic well-being – the chance to live in a house with enough money to pay for food and health.

Louis: If the draft opinion becomes official, it will immediately open the door for states to pass laws restricting or banning abortion altogether. In fact, 13 states already have so-called trigger laws that will take effect immediately deer is overwhelmed. To have an abortion, pregnant women in those states will have to travel outside the state if they can afford to have one – or will not be able to have an abortion.

And the consequences for those who cannot get the care they want will be serious.

Foster: For people who can’t have an abortion because the Supreme Court simply allows states to ban abortions, we will see poorer physical health, greater economic hardship, lower achievement of ambitious plans, children raised in more insecure economic circumstances and people’s lives turned upside down.

Louis: Another rollover effect deer is that fewer medical providers will be trained to perform abortions. In a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in April, researchers found that about 45% of obstetrician-gynecologist residency programs are in countries that are safe or likely to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns deer. This means that a similar percentage of obstetricians and gynecologists will not have access to abortion training.

Co-author of the study Jody Steinauer is a professor at UCSF and director of Kenneth J.’s training program. Ryan on abortion and family planning.

Steinauer: Taking a step back … medical students and nurses need to be able to advise people on their pregnancy options and, you know, it will now be really important for all doctors, nurses and really all healthcare providers to be able to facilitate of very quick recommendations for people.

So, if someone is able to have a really early abortion, gestational limit …, they will need to be referred very quickly for care.

Louis: And these laws are not only relevant to abortion – they also affect the training of other skills, including miscarriage management.

According to Steinauer, national and international obstetrician-gynecologist accreditation organizations require providers to know how to empty the uterus, and even if an individual doctor objects to an abortion, they must be able to do so in an emergency to save the parent’s life.

And this can be really important in countries that pass laws that restrict abortion even in the most extreme circumstances, such as rape or incest.

Steinauer: I really hope that what will happen is: all these triggering laws that come into force, I hope, will not be able to be implemented without exception. Because if a country, say, bans abortion, except in very specific circumstances about saving a pregnant woman’s life or perhaps having serious health consequences, then many of the clinics that currently provide care for loved ones will really need hospitals and practicing clinicians who do gynecology to strengthen mainly to ensure legal abortions.

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]


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