Posts

row vs wade

Roe Vs Wade Overturned, Experts Warn Maternal Mortality Rate Will Rise In US 

The Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe vs Wade last week in a 6-3 decision, officially revoking the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. Experts are now saying that pregnancy-related deaths will almost certainly increase, especially among people of color. 

Rachel Hardeman, a reproductive health equity professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, spoke on the issue: 

“There are going to be more people who are forced to carry a pregnancy to term, which means that there’s going to be a greater number of people who are at risk. More pregnancy means more likelihood of deaths.”

Current state bans could lead to an additional 75,000 births every year for those who won’t be able to access abortion, according to one experts estimate. The bans will also likely impact younger and poorer people of color at a much higher rate.

Currently in America, for every 10,000 births, 23.8 people have died from either pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Embed from Getty Images

More than half of the US states are likely to ban abortion following the fall of Roe.

“The truth of the matter is, it’s already hitting people [of color] harder than others – that’s been the reality,” said Monica McLemore, an associate professor of family healthcare nursing at University of California, San Francisco.

“Black people in the US were already 3.5 times more likely than white peers to die because of pregnancy and childbirth, according to one study looking at data from 2016-2017, and 2.9 times more likely,” according to a CDC analysis in 2020. 

“Because Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities are going to be disproportionately impacted by lack of access to abortion services, it’s going to exacerbate the maternal mortality racial gap that we’ve already seen in the United States,” Hardeman said.

“It’s translating into not getting the care they need, which can be a matter of life and death. And racism also takes an immense physical toll, so by the time that person becomes pregnant, they are at less optimal health than their white counterparts who haven’t experienced racism across the life course.”

The cumulative and chronic effects of living in America as a person of color increases stress, which can also affect reproductive health. “We know that the stress pathway is what leads to infant mortality, preterm birth, and other outcomes,” Hardeman said.

“We have to be thinking about the Scotus decision and abortion bans generally as a racist policy, because the burden will fall the hardest on Black pregnant people, it’s going to fall hard on Indigenous people and other people of color, people living in rural areas as well and people of lower socioeconomic status,” Hardeman continued.

Embed from Getty Images

“The supreme court decision on Friday and bans on abortion instituted at the state level disproportionately harm people of color and reinforce a system of inequity and, frankly, of white supremacy.”

“If you think about why people get abortions, it’s often because it’s not safe for them to stay pregnant,” Stevenson said. “The people who are currently having abortions are very likely to actually have higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths and maternal mortality than the people who are currently giving birth.”

Having an abortion is “much, much, much safer than staying pregnant”, Stevenson said. 

Current research indicated that childbirth is 14 times more deadly than having an abortion. 

“We have to be thinking about the fact that because we live in a society where access to resources is based on racism and race, there are people who are not going to be able to access the services that are available.”

McLemore emphasized that direct action is what’s needed in order to protect the people in states that will be banning abortions. 

“Congress could act right now and render Scotus’s decision irrelevant by enshrining reproductive rights into national law. If this Congress doesn’t, she said, the six in 10 Americans who support abortion rights should vote for a new Congress that will,” she explained.

“We need an all-hands-on-deck approach here – with brilliance, not fear.”

 United Nations Health Expert Condemns US Over Threat To Abortion Rights 

Special rapporteur for the United Nations, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, is calling on the US Supreme Court to uphold the right to abortion in America. Dr. Mofokeng is arguing that the US is risking undermining international human rights laws and are indirectly threatening the right to a safe abortion for other countries around the world. 

Dr. Mofokeng is one of many global observers whose main job is to travel the world and defend human rights. She argues in a brief filed in a US court that by overturning abortion rights, the nation would be violating international human rights treates that were ratified by the US; including the convention against torture, and forcing a woman to carry their pregnancy to term, regardless of the personal risk for the mother and child. 

In an interview, Mofokeng told the media she could have “filed a brief on abortion rights, in any other court, in any other abortion case, globally. However, the US courts are dealing with the direct threat posed to abortion rights in the supreme court’s upcoming session.

Embed from Getty Images

“We have this joke among us that when the US sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. So we know that politically that what happens in the United States… does have an impact in precedents elsewhere in the world.”

Roe vs Wade is the famous 1973 court case that gave Americans the constitutional right to an abortion in privacy. At the time, the case invalidated numerous state abortion bans and restrictions, and allowed individuals to terminate a pregnancy up to the point where the fetus can survive outside the womb; around 24 weeks. 

“If that gets overturned, it has catastrophic implications, not just for the US. I fear overturning Roe would embolden global attacks on reproductive rights.”

Mofokeng’s  most recent UN report outlined “the challenges Covid-19 posed to reproductive rights, and how colonialism continues to impact global policies on reproduction, from sterilization to abortion bans.”

“It means that even those people who are conservative, who are anti-rights, in any country in the world, will actually now start referencing the US court as an example of jurisprudence that should be followed, and this is why this is so dangerous.”

Embed from Getty Images

“If Roe … [were] overturned, many US states will implement bans or near-bans on abortion access that will make individual state laws irreconcilable with international human rights law. This would cause irreparable harm to women and girls in violation of the United States’ obligations under the human rights treaties it has signed and ratified,” Mofokeng’s brief argued.

“The denial of safe abortions and subjecting women and girls to humiliating and judgmental attitudes in such contexts of extreme vulnerability and where timely health care is essential amount to torture or ill treatment.”

In one recent analysis, the Guttmacher Institute found “26 states are certain or likely to outlaw abortion should Roe be overturned.”

“The rise in global anti-gender and anti-women’s rights is such that people will grasp at anything that seems to make their case solid, and  the case before the supreme court now relies on non-medical, non-scientific misinformation,” said Mofokeng.

“It means we have a risk of now having global jurisprudence – or at least influences in the global world – using jurisprudence that’s ill-informed. And that’s very dangerous, to undo the court’s decisions takes decades, sometimes a lifetime, – and that’s why it’s dangerous.”