Two University of Washington nursing and midwife experts in maternal health have provided the following quotes on the issue of restricting abortion or making it illegal — seen as increasingly likely due to the Supreme Court draft opinion, leaked to Politico on Monday.
Molly Altman is an assistant professor in the UW School of Nursing and nurse midwife, whose scientific research focuses on respectful and equitable care during pregnancy and childbirth.
Meghan Eagen-Torkko is associate professor and Director of Nursing at UW Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies. Eagen-Torkko a nurse midwife with a continuing practice at Public Health Seattle-King County, where her practice specializes in family planning and women’s health.
“Restricting, and in many states, making abortion illegal will not change the need for abortion, but not having safe and accessible abortion services available will have tremendous impact. In fact, lack of access to abortion services has been shown to increase the risk of maternal mortality, both through restricted funds to family planning and through abortion restriction legislation, with the highest impact seen with racially minoritized communities,” said Altman.
“Outside of maternal mortality, the impacts on health care will be enormous: We can expect to see mismanagement of miscarriage and complicated pregnancies due to provider fear of being accused of providing abortions. We will see people not accessing necessary care for early pregnancy complications due to fear that providers will report them. We will see significant negative mental health impacts from people being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies,” said Eagen-Torkko.
Said Altman: “We will also see increased birth rates and associated increased poverty given our country does not provide adequate resources for childbearing families. Bottom line is that abortion is necessary health care. Abortion is public health. And the impacts of removing this crucial health care service will be monumental.”