Majority of OBGYNs believe overturning Roe led to more maternal deaths: Survey

(NEW YORK) — A majority of OBGYNs say the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer is linked to more maternal deaths, according to a new survey released early Wednesday from KFF.

The decision — known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — determined there is no constitutional right to an abortion and gave individual states full power to regulate abortion.

Since then, at least 15 states have ceased nearly all abortion services, according to an ABC News tally.

To understand how the abortion landscape has changed, between mid-March and mid-May of this year, KFF surveyed nearly 570 OBGYNs who spend the majority of their working hours in direct patient care.

Results showed 64% of all OBGYNs surveyed believe the ruling has worsened pregnancy mortality. Seventy percent said it’s worsened racial and ethnic inequities and 56% believe it’s worsened the ability to attract new doctors to the field.

Additionally, 55% of OBYGNs practicing where abortion is banned say their ability to practice within the standard of care has become worse.

Half of OBGYNs in states where abortion is banned said their patients were unable to obtain an abortion compared to about 25% of OBGYNs across the nation.

The decision has also impacted miscarriage care. Four in 10 OBGYNs in restricted states said they have faced constraints caring for patients experiencing miscarriages and other pregnancy-related emergencies. Meanwhile one in five across the U.S. reported the same.

The survey also asked whether OBGYNs have seen an increase in patients asking for contraceptives.

Only a little more than 20% of OBGYNs reported a rise in patients seeking either emergency contraceptive pills or measures including birth control pills, patches, rings and injections.

Comparatively, there was a much larger increase in patients requesting long-term and permanent form of contraception. About 47% of OBGYNs saw an increase in patients wanting IUDs and 43% saw an increasing in wanting sterilization.

There is also a difference in how many OBGYNs provide emergency contraception methods. In states where abortion is banned, 73% of OBGYNS provide evonorgestrel/Plan versus 90% of OBGYNs in states where abortion is available under most circumstances.

What’s more, 25% of OBGYNs in states with abortion bans provide ulipristal acetate/Ella for emergency contraception and 40% provide copper IUDs for emergency contraception. These numbers are lower than in states where abortion is legal.

“This means that in abortion ban states, not only is abortion unavailable, but there is also limited OBGYN provision of certain emergency contraception methods,” the report reads.

Meanwhile, providers are also worried about their own legal risk. More than four in 10 — 42% — of OBGYNs report being “very or somewhat concerned about their own legal risk when making decisions about patient care and the necessity of abortion.”

The figure rises to 59% of OBGYNs practicing in states with gestational limits and 61% in states that have abortion bans.

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