Understanding Pregnancy Loss in the Context of Abortion Restrictions and Fetal Harm Laws

Issue Brief
  1. A miscarriage can often be mistaken for a late period, so individuals may be unaware they have miscarried.

    ← Return to text

  2. Examples of infections that can cause stillbirths include parvovirus, listeria, syphilis and cytomegalovirus (CMV).

    ← Return to text

  3. KFF’s Fact Sheet on Medication Abortion describes REMS in more detail.

    ← Return to text

  4. SIA Legal Team merged with If/When/How in March 2019, now known as If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice.

    ← Return to text

  5. NY recently repealed criminal prohibition on self-managed abortion.

    ← Return to text

  6. The charges in this case were later dropped.

    ← Return to text

  7. For women with opioid use disorders in pregnancy, the medical standard of care is to continue their methadone or buprenorphine therapy at their usual dose during pregnancy. Case reports suggest opioid withdrawal may actually increase risk of miscarriage and stillbirths as compared to maintenance therapy, although the evidence is mixed.

    ← Return to text

  8. Studies on alcohol and pregnancy loss have mixed results. A meta-analysis of 24 studies (>230,000 women) showed an increased risk of miscarriage in alcohol users while another meta-analysis of 46 studies found no significant effects of low-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure on miscarriage or stillbirth. Despite this, significant evidence shows alcohol dependence in pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause facial abnormalities, behavioral issues and learning disabilities.

    ← Return to text

  9. The majority of research on cocaine and pregnancy loss comes from the 1980s and early 1990s, at the height of the crack epidemic in the U.S. Many studies evaluate cocaine’s effect on growth restriction, preterm birth and placental abruption, but do not explicitly measure miscarriage or stillbirth rates.

    ← Return to text

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.