Earlier this summer, pro-choice women breathed a sigh of relief when HB2—the Texas law that reportedly shut down more than half of the state's abortion clinics for not meeting surgical center standards—was overturned by the Supreme Court. But according to the Washington Post, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are all still battling similar laws restricting a woman's right to choose.
So, what would it look like if anti-choice politicians actually got their way and overtuned Roe vs Wade, making abortion illegal once again? Here's just a glimpse at what might happen in that terrifying scenario...
Women would attempt to end unwanted pregnancies on their own or have unsafe illegal abortions.
THE DETAILS: Counterfeit or unregulated medications and household products would be used, which could result in hemorrhaging, infection, anemia, infertility, and even death. In Chile, where abortion is banned, such outcomes send more than 33,000 women to the hospital each year.
The 224,000 women who become pregnant each year through rape, or have a fetus that is nonviable due to a chromosomal or other medical issue, would be forced to carry to term..
THE DETAILS: The resulting long-lasting emotional stress can worsen or increase the risk for heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and depression.
Some of the 1 million women who miscarry each year could be jailed.
THE DETAILS: In Chile, 113 women were investigated in 2014 on suspicion that a miscarriage or stillbirth was actually an abortion; 27 were found guilty and punished with jail time or fines. Incarceration causes emotional strain, so women who are jailed suffer disproportionately from mental health issues. They are also more likely to have gynecological problems such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease as a result of the lack of routine reproductive care in jails. On a wider scale, the fear of prison or fines may make women who have a miscarriage hesitant to go to the doctor. And if the miscarriage is incomplete, which happens in 50 percent of cases, any tissue remaining in the uterus could cause a potentially deadly infection.
This article was originally published in the September 2016 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.