The Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in the upcoming days. The recent draft opinion suggested the decision will reverse Roe v. Wade. As the nation prepares for potential changes in abortion access, many pro-life states are championing efforts to help women facing unplanned pregnancies and those in low-income situations.
Those efforts include extending Medicaid benefits to help expectant mothers. Typical benefits for postpartum mothers have lasted two months, but the extension will give new mothers benefits for one year after their child is born.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, several states including Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas have already extended health benefits for low-income postpartum mothers. Alabama and Georgia are also working toward implementing similar changes to health benefits.
Many states, including Texas and Ohio, have “trigger bills” in place that will quickly deem abortions illegal in their states if Roe is overturned. Tennessee, also one of 13 states with “trigger laws” in place, is taking steps to help women in crisis. Governor Bill Lee said, “I think that the lives of unborn children — it’s very important that we protect the lives of them. It’s also important that we recognize that women in crisis need support and assistance through this process. For example, that’s why we’ve expanded our postpartum coverage for women in TennCare or worked with health care organizations that provide support services for women, particularly in crisis pregnancies.”
These bills will protect many innocent lives from abortion. However, some claim that increased restrictions on abortion will increase the maternal mortality rate. As reported by The Guardian, Sarah Blake, Associate Professor of Health Policy at Emory University in Georgia, believes the additional benefits to be “a win in many ways,” but feels abortion restrictions “would certainly lead to higher risks for maternal morbidity or mortality.” She also claimed the state is “very against women” because of its pro-life measures.
The reality, however, is that abortion does nothing to lower maternal mortality rates. A 10-year study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open found that states with more pro-life laws in place had lower maternal mortality rates than in states where abortion laws are more permissive. Though maternal mortality rates in the United States are far too high, but abortion does not make them lower; research comparing pro-life and pro-abortion countries has shown the opposite. Abortion itself is dangerous, and can even cause dangerous side effects in future pregnancies.
Instead of relying on abortion as a panacea to cure all pregnancy ills, these pro-life states are working to ensure mothers have the care and support they need. Additionally, there are pregnancy resource centers all over the country, as well as many other pro-life organizations, are ready and willing to provide additional increased support as abortion access changes.
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