The End of Roe v. Wade Will Result in Thousands of Maternal Deaths. AGAIN.
by Karen Pataky, Director, Public Policy & Political Action Committee; Chair, Health Policy Task Force
JUNE 24, 2022—Today’s SCOTUS decision will be a death sentence for many women, especially poorer women and women of color. Roe v. Wade was passed in 1965 as a public health measure to keep families intact by saving women’s lives. Abortion overall was so unsafe that 17% of all perinatal deaths were due to illegal abortions. Most of those women were already mothers. Public health experts were concerned that the death of a mother destroyed the entire structure of her family. Roe v. Wade meant that a woman had the right to have an abortion provided by a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist rather than a “back-alley butcher.” Families did not lose their mother.
Other women will also die because many coexisting medical conditions will worsen dramatically due to pregnancy: type 1 diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, kidney disease, and many cancers. Again, women of color are generally more vulnerable to most illnesses.
There is also the concept of federally mandated “motherhood” without concomitant federally mandated “fatherhood.” Who will pay for the woman’s prenatal care? Who will step in when pregnancy complications require a working mother to take sick leave?
Let’s remember that not every family can provide adequate parenting. In 2020, there were 117,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption. Most of those children were never adopted. We can presume the foster care problem will worsen with government-mandated motherhood.
Unanswered questions remain concerning implementation of mandated motherhood:
- Will there be a national menstrual registry?
- Will there be cameras in every medical office?
- Will bounties be paid to pregnancy “snitches”?
- Will physicians or other health care providers be punished for facilitating the safe medical care most appropriate for a particular woman?
Anyway, why must all Americans bow to the religious doctrines of a small segment of highly placed politicians? This is not the America we learned about growing up. And not the America we want for our children.