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Study: Maternal Deaths Would Skyrocket with Nationwide Abortion Ban

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022   

Texas is home to one in 10 Americans of reproductive age, and mandated births due to the state's abortion ban will increase the number of maternal deaths, according to new research from the University of Colorado.

Currently, 26 Republican-led states plan to outlaw abortion, and there is a growing movement by conservatives to make it illegal nationwide.

Amanda Stevenson, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the study's lead author, said should it happen, maternal deaths would jump 13% in the first year, and increase to 24% in subsequent years.

"In the United States, the rate of maternal deaths in 2020 was 23 deaths per 100,000 births," Stevenson pointed out. "In rich countries that have good access to health care, the rate of maternal deaths is well below 10."

Texas has the eighth-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, with just over 34 deaths due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth for every 100,000 births.

Stevenson noted just how society will facilitate access to abortion for those living in states where it is illegal, or how criminalizing it will impact health care, were not factored in.

Overall, the United States has the highest maternal death rate of any developed country, which Stevenson said climbs still higher for rural residents, and even higher for Black Americans.

"Staying pregnant is more deadly than having an abortion," Stevenson explained. "Abortion is very safe, staying pregnant is relatively deadly in the United States, and so, more people will die."

Stevenson recommended investments in maternal health care in states where abortion is illegal, especially to address racial inequalities. Neighboring New Mexico, where abortion remains legal, is now a destination state for many Texans seeking the procedure.


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