The Stream

How are new abortion laws affecting women in the United States?

On Wednesday, October 12 at 19:30 GMT:
It’s been more than 100 days since the United States Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion. In that time, life has changed dramatically for millions of Americans when it comes to their healthcare choices.

Giving states individual choice when it comes to providing abortions is spurring the creation of a chaotic patchwork system across the country. The procedure is banned or severely restricted in more than a dozen states, mainly in the south. Nearly 10 other states have bans in the works, but face legal challenges. This means almost one in three American women of reproductive age – disproportionally poorer women and those of colour – now live in a state with no abortion options, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Studies show that this lack of access puts pregnant women at risk for worse financial, health and family outcomes.

Beyond the procedure itself, physicians say vaguely-worded laws are having a chilling effect on treating high-risk patients. Fearful of criminal prosecution, doctors in some states have been hesitant to treat pregnant women with cancer or women whose fetuses are diagnosed with fatal complications, putting their lives in danger.

Polls show that a majority of Americans (62 percent) support keeping abortion legal, and the issue is expected to galvanise voters in next month’s midterm elections. The outcome would impact efforts to pass legislation that either legalises or restricts abortion on a national level.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the impact that abortion bans are having on Americans, particularly the poor and women of colour.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Elizabeth Nash, @ElizNash
Principal Policy Associate, Guttmacher Institute

Jessica Rubino
Family medicine physician

Michele Goodwin, @michelebgoodwin
Professor of Law, University of California