Pregnant Women Are Being Denied Care in ER Since Fall of “Roe v. Wade”

A new report says complaints of pregnant women being turned away from U.S. emergency rooms spiked in 2022

<p>Ariel Skelley/Getty</p> Stock image of a pregnant woman being examined by a doctor

Ariel Skelley/Getty

Stock image of a pregnant woman being examined by a doctor

Pregnant women are being denied care in emergency rooms since the fall of Roe v. Wade, according to a new report.

Federal documents obtained by the Associated Press show that complaints of pregnant women being turned away from U.S. emergency rooms for treatment spiked in 2022 after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its own landmark decision of 1973 that granted women the right to an abortion in every state. While abortion remains legal in states including California, Oregon and Nevada, it is banned at conception in states including Texas, Georgia and South Carolina.

According to AP News, one woman miscarried in a restroom of a Houston emergency room after front desk staff refused to admit her and her husband called 911 for help, while another woman in North Carolina gave birth in a car after an emergency room couldn’t offer her an ultrasound when she complained of stomach pain. The woman gave birth while en route to another hospital 45 minutes away and the baby later died, according to the outlet.

AP News obtained the documents from a Freedom of Information Act request filed in February 2023.

<p>Andrey Popov/Getty</p> Stock photo of a group of pregnant women

Andrey Popov/Getty

Stock photo of a group of pregnant women

The cases have raised concerns about the state of emergency pregnancy care in the U.S.

Sara Rosenbaum, a George Washington University health law and policy professor, told the outlet pregnant patients have “become radioactive to emergency departments” in states with abortion bans.

“They are so scared of a pregnant patient, that the emergency medicine staff won’t even look. They just want these people gone,” Rosenbaum said.

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Under the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, emergency rooms are required to treat or stabilize patients who are in active labor and provide a medical transfer to another hospital if they don’t have the resources or staff to adequately treat them.

“No woman should be denied the care she needs,” Jennifer Klein, director of the White House Gender Policy Council, said in a statement to AP News. “All patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies, should have access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.” 

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