OPINION: Abortion ban puts lives at risk


Jacob L'Hommedieu

A pair of signs is held at a Pro-Life/Anti-Transgender protest on Tulane’s campus on Sept. 2, 2022. Voisin argues that more harm than good will be caused by new abortion laws.

Elena Voisin, Writer

Just a few weeks ago, a woman in Baton Rouge was denied an abortion even though her fetus was missing a skull and would not be able to survive past birth. Her doctors could only recommend that she travel out of state for an abortion or go through with the pregnancy and endure the trauma of watching her child die shortly after birth.

Recently, a doctor in Texas reported having to delay treatment for a patient who had developed a uterine infection as a result of a miscarriage. However, the doctors could still detect a fetal heartbeat and were thus prohibited under Texas law from performing an abortion. Doctors could only watch their patient get worse until the fetus’s heartbeat stopped a day later and were able to proceed with treatment.

Currently in Louisiana there is a complete abortion ban with vague, limited exceptions. One such exception is “to prevent serious risk to the pregnant person’s physical health.” But how much risk is enough? How low does your rate of survival need to be before the government decides to gamble with your health?

Even without abortion bans, pregnancy is dangerous, especially in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2018 for every 100,000 live births, approximately 17 people died from pregnancy complications. In comparison, Canada reported only 8.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, the United Kingdom 6.5, and Norway reported 1.8 deaths. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is even higher for Black women, who are 3 times more likely to die than white women.

Now, with abortion bans in multiple states, more people will die from pregnancy complications. People who didn’t want to be pregnant in the first place will now be forced to risk their lives to go through the trauma and irreparable physical change of giving birth. And those that had planned for pregnancy will not be given adequate care.

Nothing about these laws is “pro-life.” These pro-birth laws serve only one purpose – control. For the groups that protest against abortion, the belief is that women’s only purpose is child rearing,and forced birth is meant to keep women in place. And their push for legislation won’t stop at abortion. These fascists also want to ban birth control, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and civil rights.

And Loyola has taken their side. According to Student Life and Ministry, abortion access goes against Jesuit values. And I suppose abortion rights don’t align with Jesuit principles, so long as you believe healthcare isn’t a “special concern for the poor and oppressed,” or that “linking faith with justice” doesn’t include reproductive justice, or if you throw “critical thinking and effective communication” out the window. How else could you support laws that will increase the already high maternal death rate, that will keep people stuck in a cycle of poverty, and which value fetuses over the life and autonomy of a full person?