Abortion-banning red states have worst maternal mortality rates of any in the nation
Greg Abbott (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

On Tuesday, Axios reported that experts are alarmed about the rise of new abortion bans, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, in states that happen to also have the worst maternal mortality rates.

"U.S. women already were likelier to die during or after pregnancy than anywhere else in the developed world, and public health experts predict things will get worse in the post-Roe landscape as health providers weigh legal exposure against clinical decisions," reported Oriana Gonzalez. "Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi top the CDC's list of states with the highest maternal mortality, each with more than 30 deaths per 100,000 live births. Each had 'trigger' laws, or abortion bans that took effect in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court eliminating a federal right to the procedure."

"The combination of more restrictive abortion laws, more births and insufficient care could leave those states 'completely unprepared for the ramifications in the lives and health and wellbeing of women and children and families that these bans are going to cause,' said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, which advocates for access to abortion care," said the report.

Meanwhile, a not-yet-peer-reviewed study from the University of Colorado "projected that in the first year following a nationwide abortion ban, the number of maternal deaths would increase 13%, from a baseline of 861 to 969. In subsequent years, maternal deaths would increase 210, or 24%."

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"Some state laws contain exceptions to save the life of the pregnant person," the report noted. "But the way that leaves doctors having to prove which patients qualify in an emergency could put providers in an untenable position and be 'confusing to those practicing medicine,' said Jen Villavicencio, lead for equity transformation at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."

Many Republican governors seem unconcerned about the risk to maternal health, as well as to other circumstances in which abortion could be required. For example, Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) was noncommittal whether he would even preserve rape exceptions in his state, because they represent only a "real small, minor number" of abortion seekers.