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Doctors worry stricter abortion bans will lead to more maternal deaths

a person holds a sign that reads "abortion saved this person's life"
Jason Whitman
Demonstrators are seen attending the Planned Parenthood ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ day of action protest after Politico on May 2 released a leaked initial draft majority opinion, indicating the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn two abortion-related cases, which would end federal protection of abortion rights. The nation's high court did in fact overturn Roe on June 24.

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, scholars noted that states with the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. also had higher maternal mortality rates.

Now that many states are enacting even stricter abortion bans, many researchers and doctors are warning that death rates related to pregnancy and delivery could increase further.

In a study dated June 29, 2022, researchers estimated that Ohio’s maternal mortality rate would increase by 14% under the state’s stricter abortion ban. That same study estimated Indiana’s maternal mortality rate would increase by 9% and that Kentucky’s would increase by 5% with stricter abortion bans in place.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss maternal mortality in a post-Roe world are Dr. O’dell Owens, former president and CEO of Interact for Health; and Dr. Alison Norris, an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Public Health with a joint appointment in The Ohio State University College of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network, or OPEN.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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