Senator Murray: “When we first learned of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe, I warned this was a five-alarm fire, and what we’re witnessing now is nothing short of one.”
***Read the full report here***
ICYMI: Senator Murray chairs hearing on catastrophic consequences of Dobbs decision on women’s health
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a new HELP Committee report on the impacts of a post-Roe America and the state of abortion policy following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs.
The report details the current state and potential trajectory of the patchwork of abortion bans and restrictions nationwide, the dire implications of the restrictions for women’s health, and the legal ramifications for patients and providers alike as Republican lawmakers pursue further restrictions on Americans’ reproductive rights. It shares stories from women, family members, and abortion providers on the real-life consequences of restricting access to abortion. Importantly, the report urges policymakers to enact protections for women seeking abortion care, providers offering it, and those helping patients access it. The release of the report, “Impacts of a Post-Roe America,” follows a HELP hearing Senator Murray chaired last month examining the state of reproductive care in a post-Roe America and the threats the Dobbs decision poses to women’s health.
“We knew that overturning Roe would have truly dire consequences for women and people across the country, and in the few weeks since the Dobbs decision, we have already seen the devastating toll the wave of new, punitive restrictions on abortion have had on women’s health,” said Senator Murray. “Tens of millions of women now lack access to abortion in their state—and doctors across the country fear legal risks for providing legal abortion care in the face of intimidation and proposed restrictions. This report makes crystal clear that women are already suffering grave health consequences as they are denied access to abortion care—including when it’s needed to save their lives—and the maternal mortality crisis is sure to worsen.”
“When we first learned of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe, I warned this was a five-alarm fire, and what we’re witnessing now is nothing short of one: for women, patients, and providers all across the country simply trying to get and provide essential health care,” added Senator Murray.
The report provides an overview of the state of abortion policy nationwide since Roe was overturned. In the absence of national abortion policy following the Dobbs decision, a confusing patchwork of ever-changing state bans and restrictions have been enacted by Republican lawmakers. As of today, 26 states have banned or restricted abortion, or are on the cusp of doing so. Of those, 14 have effectively banned abortion (with some limited exceptions in some states) by banning the procedure at conception or at six weeks—before many women even know they’re pregnant. In total, more than 36.3 million women of reproductive age live in these 26 states, and notably, Black and Native American women are disproportionately affected, with 56% of Black women and 55% of Native American women living in states that have pre-viability bans. The report also notes that while there is no national abortion policy in place, leading Republican officials—including former Vice President Mike Pence—have voiced support for a nationwide abortion ban and, in the Senate, 45 Republicans have co-sponsored legislation to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks.
“The HELP Committee joins the chorus of scholars, policymakers, and women raising the alarm about the consequences of the Dobbs decision and the significant harms to health and liberty from the new abortion bans and other restrictive state abortion laws now in effect,” reads the report. “The Committee urges policymakers to enact protections for women seeking abortion care, for providers of abortion care, and for those who assist them in order to mitigate some of the worst health and legal consequences.”
Critically, the report details the severe consequences the restrictive abortion bans have on women’s health. The report notes that in states across the country, there is already a resurgence in medical complications and severe outcomes for pregnant women—and as more restrictions go into effect, worse outcomes are expected. State restrictions have created confusion and fear among providers about the abortion care they can legally provide to patients who need it. One recent study published, for instance, found that Texas’ abortion ban resulted in double-digit increases in a range of maternal health complications compared to other states with less restrictive laws.
The report also provides an overview of the legal consequences of state abortion bans—and the chilling effect these legal risks have on the provision of care and, ultimately, patients’ health. It notes that women have been investigated, prosecuted, and even jailed for pursuing abortions—and such instances are expected to go up—and it makes clear that current and proposed state laws create legal risks for providers, including those providing care in states where abortion remains legal.
The full report, “Impacts of a Post-Roe America: The State of Abortion Policy After Dobbs,” can be read HERE.