Letters Invited Commentary ciated with a substantially higher risk of morbidity and The Health Consequences mortality, outcomes that inequitably affect communities of of Restrictive Abortion Laws color. Compared with those who obtain an abortion when seek- In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Gaj et al report that ing one, patients who continue unwanted pregnancies are more between 2017 and 2020, 35 states enacted 227 laws that re- likely to live in poverty, remain tethered to abusive partners, stricted access to abortion care, and only 12 states and Wash- and experience additional socioeconomic and emotional ington, DC enacted 29 laws that expanded access. The find- hardships. ings are part of an accelerating trend since 2010 of states Medical, nursing, and public health experts have long rec- enacting laws that restrict access to abortion with deleterious ognized the negative effects that restrictive abortion policies consequences for people seeking care. have on people seeking care. The American College of Obste- The restrictions are numerous and expansive. Some laws tricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognizes that “safe, le- create arbitrary hoops for patients to jump through, such as gal abortion is a necessary component of comprehensive health mandatory delays or “waiting periods.” Others
JAMA Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: May 22, 2021
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