According to a report from the Gender Equity Policy Institute originally shared with Axios, women in states that have strict abortion bans and very little access to abortion care are roughly three times more likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth, or soon after having given birth.
Among developed nations, the United States unfortunately has the highest maternal mortality rate, and many health experts and government officials have become increasingly concerned with those statistics following the historic and highly controversial overturn of Roe v. Wade. After the U.S. Supreme Court chose to remove nationwide access to abortion care, leaving the decision of women’s reproductive rights up to individual states (many of which had snapback laws that went into place as soon as Roe v. Wade was officially overturned) such health experts and officials have expressed their concerns that the already poor conditions will worsen.
The authors of the report explicitly acknowledged that “people in banned and restrictive states have worse outcomes than their counterparts in supportive states.” Moreover, they noted that anti-abortion states “are less likely to enact policies, like paid parental leave, which have been shown to improve outcomes for new parents and babies.”
The report further notes that these often lackluster conditions are “more precarious” for the six in ten women, fifty-nine percent, that live in states which “ban or restrict abortion care and other reproductive health care.”
Within compiling the report, the Gender Equity Policy Institute placed states into three different groups: those that were in support of abortion access, those that restricted abortion access, and those that banned abortion access. They further compared data on reproductive health outcomes between 2015 and 2021.
Overall, twenty-nine states fell into the “banned” and/or “restrictive” categories, and twenty-one states, alongside the District of Columbia, found themselves in the “supportive” category.
The report found that maternal mortality rates within the states that were labeled banned or restrictive on abortion care access were “significantly higher” than the maternal mortality rate of states within the supportive category. Moreover, in 2018, the maternal mortality rate in banned states was roughly two times higher than in supportive states, and it has since risen to 2.4 times higher by 2021.
Notably, maternal mortality was a significant factor especially for non-White women, —specifically Native American women who were 4.5 times more at risk than White women, and Black women who were 2.6 times more at risk than White women.
Unfortunately, the report also found that infants born in states under the “banned” category were 30% more likely to pass away than those born in supportive states.