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The far-reaching impact of abortion bans: reproductive care and beyond

, Adi Katz, Frank A. Chervenak

Abstract: On 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 49-year-old precedent that provided federal constitutional protection for abortions up to the point of foetal viability, returning jurisdiction to the individual states. Restrictions that came into effect automatically in several states, and are anticipated in others, will severely limit access to abortions in approximately half of the US. Even though every state allows for exceptions to the abortion bans, in some instances these exceptions can be used to preserve the health of a pregnant patient, while in other instances, only to preserve their life. The vague and confusing nature of the abortion ban exceptions threatens to compromise the standard of care for patients with pregnancy complications that are distinct from abortions, such as nonviable pregnancies, miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies. Additionally, we envision challenges for the treatment of women with certain autoimmune conditions, pregnant cancer patients, and patients contemplating preimplantation genetic diagnosis as part of assisted reproductive technologies. The abortion ban exceptions will impact and interfere with the medical care of pregnant and non-pregnant patient populations alike and are poised to create a medical and public health crisis unlike any other one from the recent past.
Keywords: reproductive rights / abortion / abortion restriction / public health / pregnant populations

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