Reproductive Justice

21% More People Will Die During Pregnancy Without Legal Access To Abortion

A new study shows there would be a steep rise in avoidable childbirth- and pregnancy-related deaths if abortion is banned nationally. Here’s how to help.

Protester holding a "Abortion is Healthcare" sign. Reproductive justice advocates warn there will be...
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In the wake of the removal of Roe v. Wade, many reproductive justice advocates have warned that without safe and legal access to abortions, there could be a steep rise in pregnancy-related mortality. This would disproportionately affect communities of color, Black communities, people from lower income communities, younger people, and people who already have had children.

Specifically, a nationwide ban would result in a 21% increase in pregnancy-related mortality across the country. And it would be even worse for communities of color, with a 33% rise in deaths, according to a study by Amanda Jean Stevenson, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“I live in Alabama, where we have a really, like really overreaching, really invasive trigger law,” Jilsa Milton, Board President of Yellowhammer Fund, a 501(c)3 abortion fund and reproductive justice organization serving Alabama, Mississippi, and the Deep South, told Scary Mommy.

Milton also lives in a state with one of the highest pregnancy mortality rates in the country; Alabama women die from childbirth or pregnancy complications at double the rate of women nationally. And an outright ban on abortion, along with other restrictive reproductive justice laws, “affect Black women in particular,” says Milton. Black women are over three times more likely than other women to die during or after childbirth.

It can be overwhelming, even debilitatingly so, when it comes to figuring out how to help those most affected by these restrictive abortion bans and how to actively fight for reproductive justice. Milton has a few suggestions as to how anyone can step in.

Money, of course, is always helpful. “People are starting legal funds just to anticipate [more restrictive abortion bans],” Milton explains to ScaryMommy. Here is a list of vetted legal funds currently accepting donations.

If policy and activism is more your speed, Milton suggests honing in on childcare and social safety nets in general.

“Getting into certain policy issues like childcare policy... that is a huge reason that people decide whether to not have a baby or not,” Milton explains to ScaryMommy.

Looking into how to support social safety nets like federal child care can also help, as any parent who has had to pay upwards of five figures a year for daycare knows is vital.

“I have friends, especially those who have more than one child, spending $1,000 a month on childcare,” explains Milton. Depending on where parents live and how many children they have, that price can balloon up to thousands a week. Advocating for state- and federal-level policies that provide either childcare stipends or accessible (see: affordable, but preferably free) childcare.

“People end up working just to pay for childcare... there’s not a strong safety net culture,” says Milton. Combined with a continued decrease of services like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), people who are forced to carry a fetus to term are left in a dire circumstance with little to no assistance.

As conservative lawmakers continue to strip away reproductive rights, more and more people will be put in danger. Preventable deaths will happen. Everyone deserves safe and legal access to abortions.