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What does overturning the Roe v. Wade case mean for a life-saving abortion exemption?

New legislation banning abortion in US states includes exceptions when the lives of parents are at stake.However, evidence from Texas suggests that clinicians wait until they “stand at the door to death” before performing the procedure for fear of legal consequences.


| analysis

June 28, 2022

Abortion clinic medical equipment

Matthew Bush / Bloomberg via Getty Images

New state legislation banning abortions in the United States includes an exemption that allows doctors to end their pregnancy “to save their mother’s life.” But in reality, the vague nature of these exemptions can endanger the lives of patients and expose healthcare providers to proceedings and criminal accusations.

At least as of June 28 Eight US States Officially Ban on Abortion, According to the Reproductive Health Research Institute, Guttmacher Institute.The other 18 states The ban will start in the next few weeksA 1973 ruling that protected the right to abortion following a ruling by the US Supreme Court to abolish the Roe v. Wade case.

So far, all of these prohibitions include exceptions when the life of a pregnant person is at stake, but the description of these exemptions is often given to healthcare providers. Does not provide protection. Elizabeth Nash At the Guttmacher Institute. “Opposites of abortion see exceptions as loopholes, so we designed them to be almost meaningless,” she says.

In states where abortion is prohibited, life-saving tax exemptions are often the only legal basis for someone to obtain a safe abortion. However, doctors may still hesitate to carry out the procedure for fear that legal action will be taken against them and endanger their lives.

These effects were seen in the aftermath of the Texas 2021 law, which effectively banned abortions six weeks after pregnancy.rear interview Researchers at the University of Texas, along with 25 clinicians, have discovered that abortion is delayed until it becomes an emergency disease or, in some cases, fetal cardiac activity becomes undetectable. As one interviewee said, “People need to open the door to death to qualify.”

The study also found uncertainty about whether medical professionals could discuss abortion with patients.

“The individual writing these laws is not a medical expert,” said Jen Villavicencio. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) Said in a statement. “Language is often incorrect and clinically meaningless, confusing people practicing medicine.”

If doctors can’t know what the law is or what it means, it can have life-threatening consequences, Villavicencio said. “People facing a medical crisis are afraid that doctors will pause or stop while they are doing what the patient needs to resolve or avoid the threat of prosecution. No need, “says Villavicencio.

There are many situations where abortion is an essential life-saving procedure, such as heart failure and serious infections. In addition, under certain conditions, early intervention reduces the risk of serious injury or death before things get worse and the danger is imminent.

For example, for severe pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal blood pressure condition, one of the potential treatments is to end the pregnancy at 3, 4, or 5 months. Ifas Hoskins At ACOG’s press conference last week, however, at those stages, patients may not yet be considered at serious risk to the point where doctors feel they can legally intervene.

“”[These laws] Doctors will look over our shoulders and wonder if patients are at risk enough to admit exceptions, “Hoskins said. “We are afraid that the evidence-based care they provide is vulnerable to disciplinary action, punishment, proceedings, loss of license, and criminal punishment.”

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What does overturning the Roe v. Wade case mean for a life-saving abortion exemption?

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