How Every State Pro-Life Law Handles Ectopic Pregnancy and Miscarriage

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, supporters of legal abortion have leveled the false accusation that pro-life laws threaten pregnant mothers facing medical emergencies. In particular, abortion advocates claim that laws prohibiting abortion will make it more difficult or even impossible for women suffering from an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage to receive necessary treatment.

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. In the absence of treatment, ectopic pregnancy can cause severe and life-threatening health consequences for the mother, because there isn’t room for the child to develop. Miscarriage management, meanwhile, involves caring for a pregnant mother whose unborn child has died spontaneously. The standard of care for post-miscarriage treatment differs depending on how far along the pregnancy is.

Abortion supporters have argued that state abortion limits aren’t clear about whether these types of health care are permitted — and they have argued that, as a result of this supposed lack of clarity, doctors have declined to perform necessary and potentially life-saving procedures out of fear of reprisal from officials enforcing state pro-life laws.

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