Each of the 23 states with significant abortion restrictions has exceptions in place to protect the lives of mothers, a Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) study found.
The study comes after numerous reports from corporate media outlets stirring fears that state abortion limits could prevent doctors from providing life-saving care to pregnant women. In reality, every state abortion limit that has gone into effect since Roe v. Wade was overturned allows doctors to terminate pregnancies to save the life of a mother, the study found.
“A plain reading of any of these statutes easily refutes the false and dangerous misinformation being spread by pro-abortion activists,” Mary E. Harned, attorney and CLI scholar said. “Further, none of these laws prohibit a medical professional from acting as necessary when facing a life-threatening medical emergency. ”
“To claim otherwise is either ignorance of the law or willful misrepresentation at the expense of women and their unborn children who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she said.
We hope this map clears up any confusion.
Read CLI's full state-by-state analysis, including plain-language citations from pro-life state laws, legal analysis, and relevant citations from medical bulletins: https://t.co/fccq3OFbIA#lifeisahumanright pic.twitter.com/eoLr6Hk2sL
— Charlotte Lozier Institute (@LozierInstitute) July 27, 2022
States with abortion bans that were unenforceable under the Roe v. Wade precedent — which generally blocked restrictions on abortion through the first six months of pregnancy — allow doctors to perform abortions to save the lives of women based on reasonable medical judgment, a common standard in the medical profession and in cases involving potential medical malpractice, according to CLI.
Some state laws make explicit exceptions for procedures such as ectopic pregnancy removal and miscarriage treatment, but none of the restrictions outlaw those procedures or any medical procedure doctors would perform in a life-threatening emergency, according to the study.
“It shall not be a violation … for a licensed physician to perform a medical procedure necessary in reasonable medical judgment to prevent the death or substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman,” Louisiana’s abortion ban reads.
“In the exercise of reasonable medical judgment, the pregnant female on whom the abortion is performed, induced, or attempted has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless the abortion is performed or induced,” Texas’s abortion ban reads.
Dr. Ingrid Skop, a board-certified OBGYN, said state abortion laws allow doctors to use reasonable medical judgment to determine if terminating a pregnancy is necessary to save a woman’s life and that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has published dozens of guides for making such determinations, according to a CLI press release.
“When I read pro-abortion media reports quoting doctors as saying they are unsure what action they can take in the Dobbs era, I have to ask if the doctors have read the law and if they’ve read the ACOG bulletins that are commonly used as guidance by OB/GYNs,” she said.
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