Apr 3, 2024 - Health

Louisiana's pregnant patients face riskier procedures and delayed care, report says

Illustration of a doctor's handcuffed hands wearing medical gloves

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Since Louisiana's abortion ban went into effect in 2022, doctors are using riskier procedures and delaying care, sometimes until a patient's life is at risk, according to a new report.

Why it matters: The report is the first to closely examine the impacts of an abortion ban in a state that ranks fifth for maternal mortality and sixth for infant mortality in the most recent CDC data.

Catch up quick: When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Louisiana had a trigger law that immediately banned abortion.

The report describes a dangerous push-and-pull between doctors wanting to provide care while also trying to avoid criminal and legal trouble.

  • That's translated into "increased use of medical procedures and treatments that do not meet the standard of care," the report says.
  • In one example, doctors had a patient with a cardiac condition try multiple medications even as her risk for a heart attack increased before she was advised to have an abortion.

The bottom line: The report says Louisiana violates federal law ensuring access to emergency medical care, among other violations.

How they did it: Four organizations that support abortion access worked on the report, including Lift Louisiana, Physicians for Human Rights, Reproductive Health Impact and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  • Researchers worked between May and November 2023 to interview 43 clinicians and patients, and performed focus groups.

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