Just a couple of months ago, I wrote about how the Republican Party keeps pushing new policies that are dangerous, if not deadly. This has been particularly true with abortion restrictions, which have led to lower maternity care and higher maternal mortality rates in certain states, and many new doctors avoiding applying to residencies there.
Recently, a wave of obstetricians have been fleeing red states like Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee that have “restrictive abortion laws and a hostile state legislature,” according to a report from the New York Times. Doctors, particularly those who specialize in complicated and high-risk pregnancies, are making an exodus for fear of being second-guessed and facing potential criminal prosecution. As a result, more pockets of the country that lack maternity care, known as “maternity care deserts,” are being created.
Dr. Stella Dantas, president-elect of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, emphasized that it “isn’t an issue about abortion” but “access to comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care.” Women who lack such access face a higher risk of preterm birth associated with “asthma, hearing loss, intellectual disabilities and other lifelong impacts for children,” according to research behind a recent NBC News report.
As if this isn’t disturbing enough, Republican-led counties have been passing ordinances barring people from traveling elsewhere to get an abortion. For example, on Thursday, Cochran County became the latest Texas county to impose a ban on using its roads to seek an abortion in New Mexico, which it borders. This is despite the fact that legal experts have claimed such policies would be deemed unconstitutional and unenforceable if challenged in court, according to reporting from The Texas Tribune.
Now stooping even lower, ormer Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell, who helped institute the state’s six-week “bounty-hunter” abortion ban that relies on private citizens for enforcement, is suing to get state abortion funds to disclose detailed information about every abortion it handled in the past two years. Neesha Davé, who runs the Lilith Fund, called it “a stunning escalation attacking the free speech and privacy rights of so many people,” and warned it’s “objectively terrifying” to consider “what anti-abortion extremists want to do with this personal information.”
Only a little more than a year has passed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. It’s way more than enough time to see these “pro-life” Republicans continue placing lives in jeopardy and remaining dead set against letting women make informed, rational decisions about their own bodies. When Republicans are in charge of policy, the damage only mounts.