News Release

KFF Examines Implications of Dobbs-era Abortion Bans and Restrictions for Miscarriage or Stillbirth

In a new brief, KFF explores how abortion bans and restrictions in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision can further complicate pregnancy loss. 

Pregnancy loss, which includes miscarriage and stillbirth, is common, and for many people, it is a physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing experience. The medical interventions used to manage miscarriages and stillbirths are often the same medicines and procedures used in abortions, which means abortion bans and restrictions can end up limiting care for pregnancy loss. 

Further, the threat of criminalization and penalties for clinicians who provide abortions in states with bans can create a chilling effect on clinical care. Four in 10 OBGYNs who practice in states with abortion bans report that management of miscarriages and pregnancy-related emergencies has become worse since the Dobbs ruling. 

While all state abortion bans have exceptions for cases of life endangerment of the pregnant person, they don’t account for the wide range of circumstances people may face when experiencing a pregnancy loss. Meanwhile, the growing record of documented cases of people experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies who have been denied care highlights what abortion restrictions can mean for pregnancy loss management. 

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.