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‘A matter of life and death’: maternal mortality rate will rise without Roe, experts warn - The Guardian US

‘A matter of life and death’: maternal mortality rate will rise without Roe, experts warn - The Guardian US

Jun 27, 2022 1 min, 43 secs

Pregnancy in the US is already dangerous, disproportionately so for people of color – and without abortion access for those who need it, there will likely be more deaths.

“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,” said Rachel Hardeman, a reproductive health equity professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

But America is an incredibly difficult place to be pregnant, with the highest maternal mortality rate by far of any developed country – and it’s rising sharply.

“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.

“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.

“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 said.

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”, Hardeman said.

“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.”.


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