It’s been a year.
Maybe you didn’t notice because you’ve been busy with life: getting your kids to school, going to work, paying your bills.
But it’s been a year since Dobbs, and we need to resurrect Jane for a second and look at the impact this decision has had on millions of Americans.
By now, you’ve read about the Texas lawsuit, with the number of women suing the state growing every day. And you’ve read about mothers in Florida, Louisiana, and Ohio who have been forced to carry dead fetuses and risk sepsis because the abortion laws in their states are vague, and penalties for breaking them are onerous. These stories about unintended consequences for pregnant women are legion.
But there’s other fallout from the misguided decision.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 68% of OB/GYNs say that the Dobbs decision has worsened their ability to deal with pregnancy-related emergencies. Sixty four percent believe that the judgment has increased pregnancy-related mortality and decreased the number of doctors interested in the field of women’s health.
According to Axios, the states with almost complete abortion bans saw a 10.5% decrease in OB/GYN applicants. This will decrease maternal health care in states that already have the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S.
It’s easy to say this is a woman’s issue, but it isn’t. Sure, women have borne the brunt of the Supreme Court judgment, but there really isn’t an aspect of life that wasn’t impacted.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimated that abortion bans cost state economies around $105 billion each year, due to women’s restricted participation in the workforce.
According to The Nation magazine, the Turnaway Study, conducted between 2008 and 2010 and recording the trajectory of women from common economic circumstances, found that women who were denied abortion services experienced 78% increase in delinquent debt, including an 81% increase in negative credit resulting in eviction, bankruptcy, and tax lien. These women also experienced four times greater odds of poverty and were three times more likely to be unemployed.
As women make up 55.3% of the U.S. workforce in 2023, this is a potential economic disaster fueled by right-wing insanity.
These aren’t the only economic headaches: state colleges and universities in states where abortion is banned are seeing a decline in enrollment. According to Time Magazine, recent polls by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation indicate that a majority of students are deciding on whether to enroll or continue in schools based on the state’s abortion laws, with a 4-1 margin favoring those states that have less-restricted rights.
Women can still access the drug Mifepristone in 36 states, but the decision to ban this nationwide sits with the 5th Circuit court for now. Even though health care clinics in abortion rights states have boosted their capacity to fill in the gap for women who are able to travel across state lines for a medically necessary procedure, it is becoming an onerous burden for the 26 states that still provide all aspects of health care for women. And many women can’t afford the journey to receive care that used to be available in their own state.
If all of this isn’t enough to keep you up at night, NPR reports that “the U.S. rate for 2021 was 32.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which is more than ten times the estimated rates of some other high income countries, including Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan and Spain which all hovered between 2 and 3 deaths per 100,000 in 2020.” Even with all of this data at their fingertips, Republicans want a higher count, clinging to their death march with the mantra “right to life.”
All of this is insane.
Up until a year ago, abortions were medical procedures available to women across the country. Now, one year later, we see the health, economic, and societal carnage left by an ill-thought-out decision swept up into a right-wing rallying cry and imposed upon a majority of Americans who thought this was settled law.
It’s time to stop the insanity.
The primaries held this past Tuesday indicate that Virginia is in no mood to adopt Youngkin’s plan to cut abortion rights. On-again-off-again Democrat Joe Morrissey was defeated by an abortion rights advocate. Right-wing Republicans Amanda Chase and Marie March, who pushed for almost total abortion bans, were soundly defeated.
But Republican winners in this primary were Youngkin’s choices, moderates who will run away from the abortion issue and make you think they are interested in you and the fantasy problems they invent for you.
Beware more wolves in sheep’s clothing: the one in the Governor’s mansion is one too many.