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New Study Links Texas Abortion Ban to Increased Infant Mortality

New Study Links Texas Abortion Ban to Increased Infant Mortality
New Study Links Texas Abortion Ban to Increased Infant Mortality

In the wake of Texas enacting one of the strictest abortion bans in 2021, Governor Greg Abbott praised the law for “saving” newborn lives. Speaking at the Texas Rally for Life, Abbott highlighted the law’s intent to protect unborn children by prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, around six weeks of pregnancy. However, Abbott’s claims are now being challenged by a new study showing an alarming rise in infant deaths following the ban.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a 13% increase in infant mortality in Texas in 2022, a stark contrast to the less than 2% increase in the rest of the United States.

The study’s lead author, Alison Gemmill, emphasized the significant adverse impacts these restrictive laws have on infant health and overall family well-being, underscoring the detrimental consequences of such policies.

Unlike many reproductive health studies that show correlations, this study claims a direct causal relationship between the Texas abortion ban and the rise in infant deaths.

New Study Links Texas Abortion Ban to Increased Infant Mortality

New Study Links Texas Abortion Ban to Increased Infant Mortality

Researchers focused on congenital anomalies as a primary cause of the increased mortality, noting a 23% rise in deaths due to these conditions in Texas, compared to a decline in the rest of the country. The lack of exceptions in the law for fatal fetal anomalies, often diagnosed after six weeks, leaves many women without viable options.

The study’s findings have met with resistance from Texas officials, who continue to champion the abortion ban as pro-life, citing an increase in births as a positive outcome. However, critics argue that these births often result in forced pregnancies, including those with severe complications or nonviable conditions.

Nicolas Kabat from the Center for Reproductive Rights condemned the policy as inhumane, highlighting the suffering inflicted on women forced to carry doomed pregnancies to term.

The impact of the law has been profoundly personal for women like Samantha Casiano, who was denied an abortion despite her fetus having a fatal condition. Casiano’s testimony in court described the agony of watching her baby die shortly after birth, a traumatic experience shared by others in similar situations.

The Texas Supreme Court’s refusal to provide clarity or exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses further entrenches these policies.

Researchers predict that Texas’s experience is a precursor to what other states with similar bans might face. With more states implementing strict abortion laws, the increase in infant mortality seen in Texas may soon become a nationwide issue. The study calls for urgent resources to help women seek care across state lines and warns that without intervention, the rise in infant deaths is likely to persist.

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