Infant Mortality In Texas Increased By More Than 12% After Abortion Ban

( – In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade protections in its Dobbs v. Jackson decision. That gave the states the ability to set abortion bans if they chose. Many enacted some prohibitions, but a few, like Texas, implemented a near-total ban with very limited exceptions. A recent report says there’s a link between prohibitions and infant mortality rates in the Lone Star State.

One of the things experts cautioned about enacting total or near-total bans is that it would affect infant mortality rates, particularly for babies diagnosed with congenital defects. JAMA Pediatrics recently published a study that examined the number of infant deaths in 2021 and 2022, before and after the prohibitions went into effect. In 2021, it found that 1,985 babies died. By 2022, that had increased to 2,243, a 12.9% spike. That erased the gains the state had made since 2017.

The study took a look at the impact on babies with birth defects, which the CDC points to as one of the leading causes of babies dying. Researchers found that while all other states saw a decline (2.9%) in those types of deaths, Texas’ rate skyrocketed by 22.9%, which Dr. Suzanne Bell, who co-led the study and teaches at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, calls “an atypical trend specifically” related to Texas. Yet, it continued to rise in 2023.

Dr. Bell said she plans to continue examining the health consequences of restrictive bans, particularly in Texas, because it’s “the first step for people to understand” the significant impact those prohibitions have. Because women don’t talk enough about it, Bell said, the public is generally unaware of “the unintended consequences.”

Texas only allows exceptions in the case of a woman’s life being in danger, but not for incest, rape, or congenital anomalies. However, Texas House Bill 3058, which was passed late last year, adds protections for the latter.

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