Pro-life OB/GYNs launch campaign refuting claims that abortion bans hurt women

Pro-abortion and pro-life demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022, in Washington, D.C. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled.
Pro-abortion and pro-life demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022, in Washington, D.C. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled. | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A group of pro-life doctors is launching a campaign in response to claims that abortion bans prevent doctors from providing emergency care to pregnant women, a claim that has seen increased fervor in the media after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. 

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), an organization that defends medical practices that preserve the lives of women and unborn children, launched a social media campaign and released a fact sheet titled “Myth vs. Fact: Correcting Misinformation on Maternal Medical Care.”

The group’s purpose in doing so is to disprove the suggestion that the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which upheld Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, interferes with doctors’ ability to provide treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.

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In Dobbs, the high court ruled that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. The ruling returned the issue to the state level, permitting each to outlaw or enact restrictions on the practice in the absence of Roe or even to expand abortion up to birth. 

“Today, AAPLOG is launching a new campaign to address misinformation with facts using these tools,” the organization said in a memo published Tuesday by the Washington Examiner

“This is all part of our mission to empower women with information so they can make fully informed healthcare decisions and empower you with the evidence you need to defend your practice of life-affirming medicine.” 

“Together, we can clear up the myths that are circulating and get the facts out there. And by doing so, we’ll help provide both our patients the best healthcare possible,” the memo continued. 

The fact sheet responded to an article published last month by National Public Radio claiming that “some abortions are necessary to save the life of a patient.” The report contains an interview with Dr. Lisa Harris, an OB/GYN who teaches at the University of Michigan.

The doctor cited the case of a woman who had previously had multiple cesarean sections and needed a hysterectomy. Harris claimed that if her state had banned abortion, she is unsure whether she would have been able to end the pregnancy and save the woman’s life. 

In its fact sheet, however, AAPLOG asserts that elective abortion “is not lifesaving medical care” and assured that OB/GYNS will still be able to provide medical treatment to women. 

The group cited a November 2017 report from the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, which noted that 93% of OB/GYNS do not commit abortions. AAPLOG stated that this means doctors will be able to continue providing care regardless of state abortion laws. 

In addition, the group of pro-life doctors pointed to a statement on AAPLOG’s website outlining the differences between elective abortion, which intentionally takes the unborn child’s life, versus medical treatment that indirectly results in the child’s death. 

AAPLOG also dismissed as a myth the claim that “Women with ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages won’t receive care they need,” noting that “These circumstances are entirely different than an elective abortion, which purposefully ends the life of an unborn child.”

“The difference between a miscarriage and an elective abortion is clear. In a miscarriage, the baby has already died and therefore any treatment of a miscarriage would not be an abortion. The procedures and treatments used for miscarriage management are not prohibited by abortion restrictions,” the fact sheet explained. “An ectopic pregnancy requires removing an embryo to save a mother’s life so that both lives are not lost. This life-saving treatment is not prevented by any current law restricting or banning abortion.” 

Shortly after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, President Joe Biden issued a statement condemning the ruling, which AAPLOG characterized as a myth. 

“Now with Roe gone we must be very clear: The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk,” he said on the day of the court’s decision. 

AAPLOG’s fact-check pointed to a 2021 policy statement issued in response to the Women’s Health Protection Act, which sought to safeguard a right to legal abortion. In the statement, the group cited a study that analyzed maternal mortality data in 32 states in Mexico. 

The study found that states with more permissive abortion laws experienced higher rates of maternal mortality than states with heavier abortion restrictions. In another AAPLOG report released in June, the organization cited a study purporting that Finland, which restricts abortions after 12 weeks, has superior health outcomes to the U.S., where Roe allowed abortions beyond this point. 

AAPLOG also classified the premise that “Restrictions on abortion are an intrusion on the relationship between a doctor and a patient” as a myth, insisting that: “Most abortion providers have no previous relationship with the patients they see.”

The pro-life group also rejected the idea that “Abortion does not have a long-term impact on a woman’s reproductive health.”

“Abortions increase a woman’s risk of preterm birth in a future pregnancy,” the fact sheet stated. “Women face a 35% increased risk of preterm birth in a future pregnancy after
one surgical abortion and an almost 90% increase in preterm birth risk after two

AAPLOG also responded to the claim that “Chemical abortions are a safe and convenient option for women” by emphasizing that abortion pills can be “a grave threat to women’s health.”

The final myth addressed by AAPLOG maintained that “Restricting access to abortion will have a negative impact on women’s mental health.” The pro-life group cited statistics finding that women are seven times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts after an abortion than after giving birth when refuting that statement.

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