Source: NC Health News
North Carolina doctors and healthcare professionals have been advocating for abortion rights protections since the start of the legislative session. With state Republicans pushing forth abortion bans, medical professionals across the board have sounded the alarm surrounding the impact of erasing reproductive health care access.
Last week, state doctors visited the North Carolina General Assembly in hopes of speaking to their legislators, writing letters and organizing to stop the intrusion on their ability to give patients crucial health care services.
For obstetrician-gynecologists, the concern for an abortion ban passing in the state is much greater, as OB-GYNs have the closest contact with those who make decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy.
“I have a patient in the hospital right now in renal failure, who was advised not to be pregnant because of the seriousness of her renal failure and the threat to her life that a pregnancy causes,” Lisa Carroll, an OB-GYN, told N.C. Health News.
Carroll, like many other OB-GYNs, routinely treats pregnancies that are complicated and potentially life-threatening for both the mother and fetus.
“Some women are coming in for their routine anatomy scan, thinking they have a low-risk pregnancy. They’re 21 weeks along, they get their routine anatomy scan, and we find a devastating, lethal diagnosis: The fetus doesn’t have a brain. The fetus doesn’t have a skull. The fetus doesn’t have kidneys,” stated Carroll. “There’s so many different ways that the development can be disrupted.”
Carroll described a patient with kidney disease to N.C. Health News, in which they are “tormented” by the decision of whether to continue with a pregnancy that could be life-threatening. In her fifteenth week, the patient still has the choice to decide up until the twentieth week, however, with proposed abortion bans by state Republicans, this may not be an option for anyone in the future.
“People, even when they’re faced with these decisions of ‘protect my health, protect my family or continue this pregnancy,’ they struggle,” stated Carroll.
North Carolina Medical Society released a new policy on reproductive health care in February, stating that the organization “opposes government, institutional, or corporate interference in individuals’ ability or right to access reproductive health and support services.”
In the past few months, hundreds of doctors, health care professionals and medical students have echoed opposition to further abortion restrictions. More than 1,200 health care providers signed onto a letter opposing any new abortion restrictions.
According to a report from #WeCount, North Carolina has the largest percent increase in abortions across states following Roe v. Wade — a 37 percent jump between April to August 2022. The state remains the last safeguard for reproductive health care access for millions across the southeast of the U.S.