Pregnancy in the US is already dangerous, disproportionately so for people of color – and without abortion access for those who need it, there will likely be more deaths.

By Melody Schreiber, The Guardian

After the revocation of the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, pregnancy-related deaths will almost certainly increase – especially among people of color, experts say. They called for urgent action to protect reproductive rights and the health of patients around the country.

Closeup of black woman with pregnancy test in a hand

“There are going to be more people who are forced to carry a pregnancy to term, which means that there’s going to be a greater number of people who are at risk,” said Rachel Hardeman, a reproductive health equity professor and researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “More pregnancy means more likelihood of deaths.”

Existing state bans could lead to an additional 75,000 births a year for those who can’t access abortions, according to one estimate. The bans will disproportionately affect younger, poorer people of color and those who already have children.

But America is an incredibly difficult place to be pregnant, with the highest maternal mortality rate by far of any developed country – and it’s rising sharply. For every 100,000 births, 23.8 people died from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes in 2020 – a total of 861 women – according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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